Apr 17 • 50M

Uncanny Landscapes 13 - Ian Ingram

An interview with artist and roboticist Ian Ingram

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Appears in this episode

Justin Hopper
Interviews with contemporary landscape practitioners on the eerie and the weird; psychogeography and hauntology; radical architecture and archaeology; artists, writers, musicians and more working on our uncanny relationship to place.
Episode details

Thank you for reading Uncanny Landscapes. This week I've got the first episode of a new season of the eponymous podcast. As you know, this is a free project, both newsletter and podcast. If you're able to support my work through a paid subscription - thank you!! I truly appreciate it. And if you're not, perhaps you can support by telling a friend (or two, or 100) about the Substack's free subscriptions and accompanying podcast.

Books, events, records 'n' more:


Uncanny Landscapes #13: IAN INGRAM


Ian Ingram's website

Ian posts lots of work on TikTok and Instagram

Nick Jonah Davis on Bandcamp

The Uncanny Landscapes podcast began two years ago as a way to rectify two shortcomings. One was a frustration with the lack of venues for interviews with contemporary landscape practitioners - artists, writers and musicians working on edgelands and the eerie; on hauntology and psychogeography; scientists and others interested in post-natural history and radical architecture, archaeology and more.

The unifying factor is the uncanny relationship with our surroundings that is a feature of modern Western life - and, perhaps more importantly, the increasing cultural recognition of that relationship. And the podcast is, I acknowledge, a simple one: one-to-one interviews with practitioners in which their ideas and voices can be spotlighted.

Here are the older episodes - what I guess we'll call 'Season 1':


The second shortcoming was an exhibition I curated for Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh set to open in May of 2020. For historically obvious reasons, it didn't happen. And then, because of Gallery changes, it was canceled completely. Ian Ingram, along with his collaborator Theun Karelse, was one of the keystone artists of that exhibition. It was to be called Uncanny Landscapes.

Today I'm finally able to publish this interview with Ian about his incredible work.

Ian Ingram is an artist and roboticist based in California. His practice is concerned with building robots - kinetic sculptures - that attempt to communicate with animals in their own languages. So, for example, you'll hear him discuss a 'lizard' robot that does push-ups the way some lizards do, to mark territory - yet through a robot inspired by Brancusi. Or a 'squirrel' robot that uses its tails to signal danger to its wanna-be species.

Ian's website is packed with videos of his pieces, which would be great to watch while listening to the interview.

I think you'll find Ian as fascinating as I do: an artist working in robotics yet with a less-than-anthropocentric worldview and a deep attachment to the natural world.

The music in this episode is by the great guitarist Nick Jonah Davis, from his album When the Sun Came - appropriately spring-like and acoustic for Ian's playful, joyful robots.

I'll write more about Ian and Theun (hopefully with an interview!) in coming newsletters, as their work is so illustrative of the ideas that capture my imagination. I hope you'll enjoy this interview, and everything to come.

This podcast will be on all the normal outlets soon, but for now, it's only here on my substack. If you like it, listen back to the oldies, and spread the word. Thanks!