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COLOSSEUM (2015)
Stereoscopic 3D film with Ambisonics Surround Sound

The film Colosseum documents an abandoned gold-, silver- and copper mine located in the Mojave Desert in California. Whenever a signal is transmitted, a file exchanged, or electricity conducted, the raw matter needed for wires and devices like laptops or cell phones could origin from this mine, the Colosseum. It is an iconic image of a place where the necessary material is sourced. Out of business since 1993, it remains a mark in the vastness of the remote, barren landscape - a monument of the Anthropocene era, in which the human impact on nature has begun counting as a geological factor. By combining 3D images and spatial sounds, the camera performs a spiraled descent to the bottom of the mine, a movement alluding to Sandro Botticelli's illustration „Mappa dell'Inferno“ (ca. 1480) depicting Dante and Vergil stepping down into Hell. Also the sound recalls this scenario from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia: In the story the choir of voices heard by Dante and Vergil during their downwards journey is substituted by the humming and crackling recordings of electromagnetic fields stemming from the editing computer (and its hard drives, the wireless network adapter, etc.), devices that in turn are enabled by the raw material in question. The soundscape further extends to field recordings of in-situ noises around the mine as well as another acoustic layer, a single falling tone (the Shepard scale) that retraces the form of the spiraled pit.



Colosseum (2015), Video stills


Colosseum (2015). installation view


Colosseum (2015), Video stills


Colosseum (2015), production stills


Selected Reactions:

„Don those 3D glasses, step behind the curtain, and immerse yourself in Moritz Fehr’s Colosseum, an 11-minute stereoscopic video and sound installation featuring the grotesque gullet of an open-pit mine near Las Vegas. While the soundtrack hums, throbs and crackles, the viewer gradually descends down a spiraling gash to the toxic dregs puddling at the bottom. (...) The sound of electromagnetic elds emitted by the artist’s computer points to the insatiable demand for electronic goods: every time a digital signal is sent or received, it’s dependent on metallic ore grievously extracted from the earth. Colosseum, showing through October 26 inside Grant Hall, is part of Preservation, one of the most ambitious, successful exhibitions at UNLV’s Barrick Museum to date.“
Las Vegas Weekly, October 2017.

 


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