Maki Ueda «Hole in the Earth» 2003.


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Hole in the Earth consists of two identical installations, one is installed on one side of the Earth and the other is installed on the other side of the Earth. Through these 'holes' you can see and hear instantly the other side of the Earth. For 2004 the Hole in the Earth has permanently connected the small square of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and a popular mosque in Bandung, Indonesia. People were day and night curiously looking at 'the other side of the earth.' Currently the installation is sleeping and preparing for the new connection with other places on the Earth. ~ Maki Ueda.

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Maki Ueda's work 'Hole in the Earth' began on the other side of the globe. Set up on a Rotterdam housing estate this video installation connects Bandung in Indonesia with Rotterdam in The Netherlands, in real time, through a virtual space. This is set up as an interactive website allowing for communication between people on opposite sides of the world to have a video conversation in real time.

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The Hole in the Earth 2002 Rotterdam - Shanghai system is fully symmetric. That is, the Rotterdam server is doing the exact same things as the Shanghai server. So it will suffice to describe the workings of one end of the 'tunnel' and imagining the other end behaving identically. The server is running Debian Linux and its tasks are Media Input, Webcam, Microphone, MP3 encoding and more.

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Hole in the Earth is an installation for the public space. Concept and design by Miss Maki Ueda. The Production is taken care of by Miss Ueda and CELL, the Initiators of Incidents, within the framework of CELL’s 'Homeport' project for Cultural Capital Rotterdam 2001. Technical system design, software and hardware development are done by V2 Lab for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam. The idea is to create a virtual tunnel through the earth, connect...

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Our conceptions about the earth have changed and will change because of scientific, philosophical and technological developments. Examples are the development of the telescope, sailboats, observation techniques and space technology. A bit more than 2,500 years ago, Pythagoras predicted that the earth is a sphere. About 200 years later Aristotle proved this theory, but the idea was not widely accepted because of the discourse in Christianity. In 1522 a crew of Magellan proved that the earth is spherical by sailing around it. It has only been 34 years since we know that the earth is a sphere from the famous photograph taken on the moon by the crew of the Apollo 11. Nowadays the internet has globally become one of the important communication media. Hole in the Earth represents a communication from side to side, "earth wide". It stimulates the imagination about what the other side of the earth is like and partly fulfils the dream. The challenge of Hole in the Earth could be described as; how far can the internet medium create intimacy in distance beyond its time-delay? When I was doing research about Bandung, I got to know about an interesting book; Hallo Bandoeng Hier Den Haag. It's a memorial book from the first telephone communication between The Netherlands and its former colony Indonesia, realised with short-wave radio technology. We would never be able to imagine how intense the experience would have been for the people at that time to hear a voice real-time from 12,000km away, a place with a distance of a 100 days travel.
'Hello, Hello, is Den Haag there?'
'Are you there, Ans?'
'Oh mother, is it you mother...? How are you doing?'
'What time is it there?'
'16:30. And there?'
'22:30. So it's time for you to eat huh?'
It's interesting that what people spoke on this 40 guilders per 3 minute phone is not so different from what I normally speak with my mother in Japan on the long-distance phone call. Now we're living about 75 years later.

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Hole in the Earth creates a communication channel between two cultures. It's a place where people can meet each other spontaneous and unexpectedly. Telephone communications are more personal while you already know who you're intending to call. What would people speak about through this 'hole?' Would it be an intimate experience for both sides? Will the use of the 'hole' change over time? Archiving the regular moments of communication between Rotterdam and Bandung could be the possible future content development.

sources: ueda.nl, msstate.edu, v2.nl