One of three video projections from my "Uncanny Sensing (Texas Prototype)", on view in Houston through April 2014. This single channel sequence is for application review purposes only -- it is out of context of the installation and can only be fully realized when shown with the other two projections and slide projection.
From the wall text:
"Uncanny Sensing (Texas Prototype)" is an experimental, regional prototyping of a larger, national project, "Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys" (a project of Creative Capital) set to premiere in 2015.
Three-screen video installation with four-channel audio; the three videos loop independently.
Video durations (clockwise from gallery entrance): 8min, 10min, 22min
Slide projection: 9
A note on the sound: The synthesized tones are generated using acquired data from the Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention’s air monitoring network. Six primary toxins – carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide ozone, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide – present in our atmosphere have been extrapolated as audible frequencies. These are then fed into a digital harmonium, or drone generator used in classical Indian music. The variable concentrations of these pollutants, from February 10, 2014 are audible as increased timbre, pitch, and volume. Harmony and dissonance ebb and flow. This 22 minute “composition” is paired with the aerial drone footage, which has been edited to the sound.
"Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys" is aimed at investigating ecology, post-natural landscapes, and the philosophical dilemma of the anthropic principle. It’s about the rise of machines in the age of the Anthropocene, and how we perceive the environment using technology – giving us a view of the world around us that some say is incomplete, synthetic, uncanny. The title of the project is a reconfiguration of the terms “remote sensing” (a method of data collection from the physical world via sensors and other remote technology) and “uncanny valley” (the cognitive dissonance caused by lifelike replicas of living things). Through the use of autonomous aerial cameras, camouflaged sensors, and remote audio monitors, I present raw media gathered in the field, documenting animal behavior, industrial processes, erosional effects, and other elements of the landscape and environment. By relying on unmediated data, I intentionally reduce my role as an artist in the conventional sense and expand my role as interpreter, editor, and curator of the landscape. Beneath the technological elements of the project are evocations of animism, activism, and indeterminacy.
This is a project about reconciling the natural world with the un-natural or post-natural world; it’s about coming to terms with the human altered environment. In this iteration, this prototype, I present an investigation of the Houston region as a distillation of three elemental planes of existence: water, land, and air. Through the use of aerial footage captured by a remote control drone, paired with other remote sensing systems, including data from air monitoring stations throughout the city, this installation presents a landscape both familiar and alien, as seen and heard through the eyes autonomous devices. Devices like this will someday interact with the natural world, no longer reliant on their human designers. A new, cybernetic ecology might evolve. Perhaps then, a better form of symbiosis may develop between us and everything else. As we experience this installation, we inherently apply meaning to what we see and hear, imposing anthropomorphism of the surveyed landscape, the animals’ reaction, the drones reflection and shadow. In order to better comprehend our landscape and our collective creation – in particular the petrochemical industry of the Gulf Coast region and its contribution to global climate change – a new perspective is sometimes needed. Remote (uncanny) sensing can provide this perspective and give us a new phenomenology of place.