• Parallelograms
    Steve Rowell

Steve Rowell, The National Rifle Association HQ, 2012, Arlington, VA. Courtesy of the artist.

The monumental influence of political action committees, corporate advocacy organizations, think tanks, and lobbyists is, to most, beyond comprehension. Enmeshed with the military-industrial-congressional complex, they compose a parallel world, obfuscated and detached from the everyday. Parallelograms is an experimental documentary film and mapping project aimed at representing architectural typologies in American politics and industry. Specifically, this project interrogates the landscape of dark money and influence in Washington, DC. As shadow institutions come into focus and are sited on a map, we get a glimpse of this parallel world. Political Action Committees, think tanks, trade associations, lobbying agencies, and advocacy groups are institutions where experts gather to discuss, map, and strategize, creating political and economic environments that help secure their visions of the future. This project is concerned with the multiverse of these near futures—some more probable than others—as well as with the present.

Steve Rowell is a research-based artist who works with still and moving images, sound, installation, maps, and spatial concepts. Currently based in Los Angeles, he has lived in Berlin, Chicago, and Washington, DC, over the past twenty years. His transdisciplinary practice focuses on overlapping aspects of technology, perception, and culture as related to ontology and landscape. Rowell contextualizes the built environment with the surrounding medium of nature; appropriating the methods and tools of the geographer and archaeologist. In addition to being program manager at the Center for Land Use Interpretation (Los Angeles) since 2001, he has collaborated with SIMPARCH (Chicago) and The Office of Experiments (London). Rowell's work (collaborative and solo) has been exhibited internationally at a range of galleries and museums, including: the 2006 Whitney Biennial and PS1, New York; Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, San Francisco; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Temporäre Kunsthalle and NGBK, Berlin; the Barbican Art Centre and the Frieze Art Fair, London; the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Ballroom Marfa; the Center for PostNatural History, Pittsburgh; the Institute for Visual Art, Milwaukee; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. In 2013 he received awards from Creative Capital and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.