Lives and works in Minneapolis
Mentor: Kevin Obsatz
Areca Roe is an artist based in Minneapolis. She received her MFA in Studio Arts, with an emphasis on photography, from University of Minnesota in 2011 and her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Oberlin College in 2001. She currently teaches photography at various schools throughout the Twin Cities, and exhibits work locally, nationally, and internationally. Roe works in many media; primarily photography as well as video, sculpture, and installation. A recurrent theme in her work is the interface between the natural and human domains. She has received Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2014 and 2016. Roe was also named by City Pages as one of the Artists of the Year for 2013. Roe’s Housebroken series has been featured on Slate, Juxtapoz, WIRED, as well as several other art-oriented sites.
My current art practice engages with our culture’s relationship (or lack thereof) with the natural world. This relationship is a complex one—we require and revere it, but we simultaneously destroy it. Perhaps above all, we have separated ourselves from the natural world, and from this comes a desire to reconnect with and return to wildness. In my work, I explore how these barriers and desires manifest themselves in our lives and our society.
Much of my work also explores the relationship specifically between humans and animals. Animals represent a multitude of conflicting meanings to us, whether we are eating them, housing them as companions, or restraining and enclosing them. Are we protectors, exploiters, or compatriots?
I have primarily explored these themes through photography, video, sculpture and installation. Some of my work has had participatory aspects (namely Art Shanty and Artist Residency at the Bell Museum), but I’m hoping to incorporate more interactive properties. Interactive art invites participants to complete the work with their actions, and to experience the work more deeply. One of my goals going forward is to convey specific messages with the work, and to get viewers to engage more deeply with the ideas.
From Areca’s Proposal
I’d like to use interactive video VR/360° to create art that elicits wonder, emotion, empathy, and encourages engagement with the issues in the work. My work deals with our relationship to the natural world, and I’m interested in the idea that we can create a simulacrum of nature within VR. I plan to capture 360° video in a natural area, such as a forest, and have actors moving slowly through the space past the “viewer.” I would like to deepen the experience by inserting hotspots of pop-up images that are activated by the viewer “looking” at a specific hot spot for a few seconds. An image will pop up – I’m imagining a line drawing of the head of an extinct animal (made extinct by human actions), which will overlay the head of the actor. For instance, a line drawing of Western black rhino head will take the place of the actor for a few seconds, moving with the person. Unobtrusive text will also pop up with the name of the animal and the year it went extinct.