Elsewhere’s Rural Residency annually collaborates with contemporary, socially-engaged artists for a year-long, site-specific, project-based explorations in rural regions of North Carolina. Using Elsewhere’s platform, this curated residency celebrates rural culture, brings awareness to under-acknowledged narratives, and deepens national connectivity to contemporary conditions of the South. Additionally, the program aims to reconnect artists, raised in the annually selected county, with their hometown.  

For the 2019 program, artist Ash Eliza Smith explores the intersection of art, technology, and the environment through collaborative film-making and public programming to examine innovation in Appalachia as corporate data storage centers, solar farms and mineral mining transform former textile and agriculture landscapes in Burke, Catawba, and Caldwell Counties.  

The project centers around rural ecosystems, from the physical internet, data, and clouds, to how memories, dreams, futures,  and present realities are experienced by local communities. The work considers how new assemblages of data bodies and non-human networks can be an emergent system—a space of hope and possibility, resiliency in the face of disaster—for world-making potential.

For more information on the event please visit tabs on this page.


This project is funded by an award from: 






@ Drexel/Alpine Cotton Mill No. 7 (Behind Walgreens), 109 E Flemming Drive, Morganton, NC, inside the Spinning Mill Building

July 20th, 6 – 9 pm | performance at 7:30 PM

FREE Admission + Kids and Pets Welcome + Parking on Site + Refreshments served

*Please keep in mind that this is a raw and unfinished space

Stay up to date and support the film release here.

Join Elsewhere for the Rural Residency’s culminating event with Morganton-born artist Ash Eliza Smith and filmmaker Raber Umphenour along with other collaborators from the region. Ash will perform a portion of the film for a live audience that will act as a simultaneous film recording.

Histories, memories and potential futures are intertwined in this speculative art + research project. The work examines a rural ecosystem in transformation by the physical internet, mineral mining, and data’s relationship to bodies, land, and patterns of extraction.


During the year-long residency period artist, Ash Eliza Smith met with and led workshops that informed short scenarios for the film.


Ash Smith is a director, designer and new media artist who grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. Ash incorporates strategies of play and speculation to solve problems, re-imagine systems and build worlds—to create interactive stories, mixed reality experiences, simulations and prototypes of the future. Data, science and/or humor may be used to tell stories for film, stage, and improvisation that may blur the distinction between art & life, fact & fiction, and nature & technology—a liminal space—that considers how myth and history modulate a present reality while simultaneously engendering future dreams. Ash is interested in the dreaming collective and how these virtual shared spaces may bleed into the real and shape our co-existence. Ash also plays music in a few bands and loves to parallel park.





Thanks to the following regional organizations and individuals, who’ve offered their time, insight or resources: