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WORMHOLE - video installation in public space

The theme of the 2008 Busan Biennale, "Expenditure", is based on Georges Bataille's notions of consumption and excess as principle agents of the creative process, hence irony and paradox become key elements in this process. This is not a calculated approach to reason but an immeasurable area, one that is created via the internal experience without any guarantee of a result or conclusion. “Voyage without Boundaries " is an exhibition that explores Bataille's notion of surplus and energy as an agent of the creative process, which is not easily understood or defined.

Sea Art Festival as a part of 2008 Busan Biennale runs under the title "Voyage without boundaries"
“Voyage without Boundaries " symbolizes a journey towards some unknown space. Modern concepts of travel are encapsulated in a linear Euclidean space: one that has a concrete beginning and end. Great ocean voyages of the past to today's travel in our global village follow routes based in some concept of space starting from some beginning to some end point. As much as Euclidean concepts have been forced to change with discoveries in non- Euclidean geometry, so space and knowledge are not arrived at by a linear and defined journey, but by experiential observation.

Intellectual voyages that discovered the lands of the non-linear and non-Euclidean have validated the artistic voyage in a unique way. This new voyage allows us to transcend those epic voyages of the past and their historic inevitabilities of exploitation and rule. "Voyage without Boundaries" is an artistic exploration that goes beyond the conventional wisdom of time and space, and allows us to form voyages of our own that have no defined inevitabilities.

This work aims to unite the examination of the wisdom of time and space and idea of global village. But it also includes the fears, wishes and fantasies. In this work are 3 themes linked: wormholes, mandalas and the story of the hollow and inhabited earth, which was considered a scientific theory until the 19th century.

The wormhole is a metapher which comes from the image of a worm, bitting his way right through an apple.
A wormhole therefore connects 2 sides of 1 space, with a tunnel. 2 places that lie on 2 different sides of the earth (e.g. Busan - NYC)and geographically are far away from each other, seen to converge through modern technology and globalisation, just as through a wormhole between them exists. I would like to create such wormhole with my work. 
Through the hole, which starts in Busan, you can see other cities all over the world, their houses and people, who also  look through it. You would also be able to see the sky and therefore into the infinity, the cosmos. It is a connection between two cities but further more it is also a connection of the infinity lying on both sides of the world. There is no beginning and no ending, just two perspectives. Travelling with the means of wormholes, although theoretically possible, is going to remain a dream. The surplus of energy needed will probably never be avaible.

The word mandala means circle, ring or plate. Originally the mandala was used to illustrate the world. Nowadays it is used to express something mental into something visual. The implementation is said to guide to an higher mental concentration. The Ego, in the buddhist sence, the origin of all suffering, is to be overcome and finally all earthly and material thinking exceeded.
Bataill was fascinated by the buddhist ideas.
The order of houses, trees etc. are to remind of such mandalas and their centralised order.

The theory of the hollow earth was scientifically approved until 19th century and had many great representatives like Edmund Halley (17TH century) from the Royal Society of Science. The Theory said, that the earth is hollow and that there were manholes lying at the poles. Many tried to find there manholes, there are several travellreports and articles abouts them. Some claimed to have reached the middle of the earth, some place with its own sun. 
The place was said to be inhibited by people living on an higher step of civilisation. This ideal of a society is similar to our modell of a global village or to the new better society in terms of Bataille...or it could be even one of his experiments.  
Todays search after the life in space is a continuation of this yearning. 

2013 © Dr. Thomas R. Huber

Of Wormholes, Hollow Earth and Mandalas by Navina Sundaram

A bridge and a mound of sand and the sea lapping the shore and the original instinct to dig into the ground, to burrow, to ferret and to see what is on the other side.
Where is that other side? Did Alice fall through a wormhole when she fell into her Wonderland? Yet the Einstein-Rosen bridges had not in general relativity been realised when Lewis Caroll sent his Alice hurtling through time and space. „All time is eternally present. In my beginning is my end“. So maybe those space time tubes acting as short cuts between vast distances existed long before they were discovered by man.
Journeying on time-travel, the nomads of imagination plunging into a hollow earth to find new civilisations not at the other end but at its very centre, the unending yet futile search for a better, for an other humanity. The entry into brave new worlds or utopias, and what does it mirror? "Hollow men" and women in a wasteland, "headpieces filled with straw"? A Kingdom where the sun never sets? With its religious, if you will, Christian overtones of theopolitics and theoeconomics and theocolonialism making a perfect metaphor for, and dovetailing neatly into, the other present day Empire of globalisation, of the New World Order, where the dance around the golden calf of Christian lore now metamorphosed into a chase of the golden deer of Capital, this shy creature, wary of social justice, and always ready to run –away from responsibility, from rooting. Its golden and silver dung dropping through global wormholes and cyber tunnels that span the globe and connect the world – virtual and real - on which the sun never sets. Electronic data gathered by cyber coolies, sitting in miniscule cubicles, for cyber lords. Is this connectivity - all these hotlines and call centres in Calcutta or Ougadougou? And is this productivity, all this outsourcing to China or Rumania? Or is this all just a subtler form of slavery?
One man’s gasoline is another man’s hunger. Globalisation gone mad. Reflections, spitting images, digitally pixelled beamed illusions or Maya?

And the nomads of imagination now soaring -bound by no boundaries –to create art, for instance, ancient mandalas made with a crushed sand of precious or semiprecious stones. To labor for days tracing intricate patterns only to erase it on completion. Chanting Tibetan monks on one side of the world sweeping their mandala into a jar and pouring it into water, into the stream, the river, the sea. In my end is my beginning. And on the other side of the world Navajo American Indians also destroying their sand painting, their work of labour, before dawn to maintain harmony. Only the impermanant is permanent. This is the ultimate luxury in the Bataille sense of the word: the creation of art, and with its erasure the destruction of riches – a wasteful expenditure which cannot be accounted for by the principle of gain.
Come a storm, come the tide, the work is reclaimed and incorporated into the cycle of life or it is released through the cosmic hole. Thus the voyage without boundaries may begin. And on the wind swept shores of Busan one hears the creakings of self-mockery.

Hamburg 2008, © Navina Sundaram; journalist and filmmaker

Technical Specifications

description > video installation in public space
components > steel construction, glass, video, monitor, dvd player
dimensions > 1 m diameter x 1,10 m high
premiere > 2008


> Busan Biennale, Busan, S. Korea