Fauxliage documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. By attempting to conceal an unsightly yet essential technology of the modern world, our landscapes are now sown with masquerading palms, flagpoles, crosses and cacti, but the towers are simulacra. They are water towers that hold no water, windmills that provide no power, and trees that provide no oxygen, yet they all provide five bars of service.
The often-whimsical cellular equipment’s camouflage belies its ability to collect personal data transmitted from our phones. Big tech and the government always listen, store, buy and sell our harvested information.
The faux trees pose an environmental concern. The aging artificial leaves break down, littering the ground below. What started as an attempt to reduce visual pollution is now creating plastic pollution.
How much manufactured nature and ersatz landscapes are we willing to accept in exchange for connectivity?
Annette LeMay Burke is a photographic artist from California who is interested in how our environment changes over time, and the telltale artifacts — both tangible and temporal— that are left behind.
Burke has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Her work was selected for Earth Photo 2023 and shown at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Her images have been featured in The New York Times and The London Times. Her monograph, Fauxliage, was published in 2021 by Daylight Books.
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