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Fauxliage: Disguised Cell Phone Towers of the American West

Annette LeMay Burke | United States

Airport Approach, Palm Springs, CA

As disguised cell phone towers proliferate, I find it ironic that instead of providing camouflage, their disguises actually unmask their true identities. The towers have a variety of creative concealments. They often impersonate trees such as evergreens, palms, and saguaros. Some pillars serve other uses such as flagpoles or iconographic church crosses. Generally the towers are just 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.

As humans continue to encroach on the natural world, our demand for cellular service increases too. Because the towers have such conspicuous costumes, their spread is even more obvious and incongruous with nature. My photographs show the towers integrated into everyday life. We seem to have accepted the manufactured nature and ersatz landscape that technology has created.

The quaint masquerades do obscure one thing—the cellular equipment's covert ability of collecting all the personal data transmitted from our cell phones. Big tech and the government are always listening (and buying, selling, and storing).

A monograph of Annette's Fauxliage images, published by Daylight Books, is available in May 2021.

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