no. 12 The Uncanny
3D LiDAR Scan; Latex Print on Acrylic LED Lightbox
from "Into The Underworld (2018)"
"The Uncanny" is the 12th piece from a series of 13 orthographic works titled Into The Underworld, by debut artist Chirag Jindal. The work was produced using an emerging form of laser imaging technology known as LiDAR, otherwise applied in archaeology and criminal forensics. Using light as a medium, this instrument registers its surroundings through millions of precisely-measured points, rendering the world in vivid gradients of light and shadow. When present, colour is mapped from a traditional photographic process, tracing the saturated hues of textures and surfaces onto each individual point of data.
Jindal has employed this technique to document the lava caves of Auckland - an unseen, dilapidated landscape devastated by a century of rapid urban sprawl. This ancient network of subterranean spaces - once the w?hi tapu (sacred) grounds for urup? (ancient burial) - now lie under the suburban boundaries of private backyards, tree-lined streets, public schools and petrol stations, where construction debris and rubbish heaps litter the inside. Reduced to urban myths & fictional narratives, their existence is not common knowledge amongst the wider public, and are largely overlooked by the developers that destroy them. While more than fifty sites have been recorded in the past, very few will remain by the end of this century.
Working with a team of speleologists and collaborating with landowners, iwi and local council, Jindal has crawled through roadside manholes and streetfront garages to record 11 sites across the city. The formerly invisible caves - rumoured rather than known - are indexed as scientifically-observed coordinates and presented as dioramas of non-fiction. The works of Into The Underworld are not merely sketches or second-hand accounts, but tracings of the world, bringing something inaccessible into the domain of public visibility and offering them as something to be recognised, preserved and managed as a shared heritage.