The term "Uncanny Valley" was originally coined in 1970s Japan by robotics professor Masahiro Mori, it describes the eerie likeness of human-like AI and robotics, often contributing to a sense of uneasiness and revulsion towards the likeness instead of affinity. Nowadays, with the rise of VR technologies, it seems to be gaining more popularity, especially as a way to describe the verisimilitude between our actual and virtual realities. The exploration of this tension lies at the core of Erin Mitchell's work, which consistently ponders the relationship between humans and technology.
Erin Mitchell, a young American artist, working with techniques such as printmaking, painting, and for the first time large-scale site-specific installation, was born and raised in San Francisco, a city continuously impacted by the ubiquity of startup capital Silicon Valley. Humans’ obsession with commodification of nature and natural products particularly within the startup and tech worlds reflects the paradox of Silicon Valley; this paradox sits at the center of Erin’s artistic inquiry during her residency at SomoS.
Erin’s works foreshadows the inevitable crash of these worlds which are founded on the continual increase of users, storage capacity, and value and makes a commentary on this ecological fallacy we collectively buy into. This proximity has had marked significance on Erin’s creative perspective as she attempts to unpack and address the ever-blurring distinction between virtual and real, media landscapes, and evolution of technology alongside its human counterparts. Erin elaborates:
“My ultimate goal with the installation is to play within and challenge this verisimilitude while hinting at the very tangible realities of the virtual spaces we navigate on a daily basis. Using the trope of the romanticized stock photo landscapes of our computer desktop backgrounds, I want to attract attention to the irony and contradictions within these hyper-idealized photographs of natural environments and the disconnect between their imagery and our actual physical environments. I want to call attention to the similarities between new modes of consumption via technology and the way we understand consumerism in a concrete sense. We're more consumers of our environments than stewards of them.”
— Erin Mitchell, Artist’s Statement