Nomadic Department of the Interior


The Nomadic Department of the Interior (NDOI) is a research art collective that seeks to address, in films, websites, and publications, the conflicting interests between stewardship of lands & extraction of material and cultural resources. Our research investigates technological systems against the backdrop of geological, ecological and human history.

游牧水土资源部(NDOI)是一个艺术研究团体。我们旨在以电影、网络和出版物的形式发掘在土地监护和撷取过程中,物质及文化开发所带来的利益冲突。 我们用地质学、生态学和人文历史的眼光观照时下的各类科技及其系统。

Our members are currently based in mainland China, the US and Canada.



2021Temporal Stack: The Deep Sensor, Up Art Space (Guizhou, China)


Caches From The Landscape, 2021

In the winter of 2019 and summer of 2021, art and research collective The Nomadic Department of the Interior (NDOI) traveled to the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou to investigate the impacts of big data infrastructural development on the people and landscape. Caches from the Landscape is a short film in the form of a visual travelogue. Starting from a post-industrial village—a relic of the Third Front Movement—the film travels to relocation villages of people displaced by the world’s largest radio telescope and continues on to data centers tunneled into mountains and new tech plazas in China’s Big Data Valley. In these brief fragments, the film captures a changing landscape, past memories and new monuments. Various human and non-human encounters give a glimpse of the current moment: the continuous arrival of big data infrastructure development and how it is reshaping histories, topologies and collective identity.


A childhood tale in a place that is not missed, a relocation village housing families who had to make way in the name of science, and Miao folklore about home and land.

Eternal Memory and Infinite Vision

A mountain excavated to be replaced with exabytes of data, collecting the nation’s digital traces. A giant reflective dish looking outward, gathering signs of extraterrestrial life.


Remains of an abandoned projected future never realized. On-going construction building upon new promises at once vague and confidently precise.


Ann Chen is an artist and filmmaker working in sound, video, image and text. Her present research interests include ecology, land sovereignty, sociology of science and technology. She received her BA in College of Letters with honors from Wesleyan University and an MPS from ITP at New York University (NYU). She was a fellow at the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Program and a fellow in the Collaborative Productions Program at UnionDocs, Center for Documentary Art. Additional fellowships and affiliations include Public Lab, University of Alberta’s English and Film Studies Department and Rebuild Foundation. She has written for Logic Magazine, National Geographic Voices and Recess Art. She taught in the Interactive Media Arts (IMA) department at NYU Shanghai.

Leon Eckert is an artist and educator, interested in the social and cultural changes produced by digital media technologies and the political and economic forces that drive their development. His work uses network and web technologies as well as photo and video. He is currently teaching Interactive Media Art at NYU Shanghai.

Yutong Lin is a writer and image maker from Lijiang, Yunnan, China. As a Nakhi descendant, their research concerns the making of memories and indigenous/nomad cosmologies in the Himalayas (Zomia) through community media and archiving practice. After drifting to Montreal in 2021, they also care about the queer experiences of the Sinophone diaspora.

Yufeng Zhao is a creative coder and an occasional designer and artist. He focuses on the service touchpoints of mass-scale infrastructure and its impacts on human conditions. Through experience building and image making, his work centers on ways that technology intends people to interact and the interplay between them (us).