Alumnus Steve Rowell (BA in Studio Art, 1992) has been awarded one of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships for 2019. Rowell was selected for his work in film and video, among 168 scholars, artists and writers from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Guggenheim Foundation’s 95th competition. Fellowships recognize exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.
Steve Rowell is an artist who works with photography, moving image, sound, installation maps, and spatial concepts to produce complex multi-component works. His practice investigates terrains of perception, nonhuman intelligence, ecologies, and technology in the landscape. Steve contextualizes the morphology of the built environment with the surrounding medium of Nature, appropriating the methods and tools of the geographer and archaeologist.
During his Guggenheim fellowship, Steve will finish a final cut of his Oxford thesis film, Humans Lived Here Once, which reflects his research on existential threats. The majority of his fellowship will be dedicated to completing his Creative Capital supported project, Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys, which will premiere in early 2020 as a multiscreen installation, a series of photographs for publication, and as a film for the festival circuit. Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys is aimed at investigating ecology, postnatural landscapes, and the philosophical dilemma of the anthropic principle. 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).
Rowell has been exhibited internationally at a range of galleries and museums, including MoMA PS1 and Storm King in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Ballroom Marfa, the Center for PostNatural History, the 2006 Frieze Art Fair in London, and nGbK and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. "The themes he has engaged with in his work include dark money, invisible infrastructure and networks, submerged networks, edgelands and fringes, speculative futures, geologic time, cyberwarfare, aerial perspective, orbital omniscience, extraction, and subsidence."