Colosseum is a spatial video- and sound installation that shows an abandoned gold-, silver- and copper mine located in the Mojave Desert. 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. 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.
"The hyperreal representation of landscape by means of spatial image and spatial sound emphasizes the assumption that the existence of untouched nature is a fantasy: humans, technology, and nature are fundamentally interwoven in multifaceted ways. Through the deliberate use of technical amplification and various recording techniques, Moritz Fehr's works also address the radical expansion of human senses through technology - and thus the perspective of finding different approaches to an only seemingly silent environment through technical mediation."
Kathrin Meyer, curator of the exhibition Undersound
Special thanks to Max Baberg (intro CGI) and to the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles.
Colosseum received an honorable mention at the Beyond 3D Festival ZKM Karlsruhe, 2015.