Subterranean Matter

capturing hard-to-access underground spaces with 3D scanning and making them accessible virtually

We are connected human beings, an internet connection following us anywhere anytime. It’s an obscure instantaneous process, symbolised through metaphorical sublime nature: torrential files, clouds of information, oceans of knowledge. Yet the internet is everything but weightless pristine, it is physically manifested in the Earth’s dirt and waters as a network of underground cables.

Subterranean Matter is a virtual tunnel created to connect Valletta (Malta) and Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) the two European Cultural Capitals 2018. The interactive installation exists simultaneously and synchronised in Valletta and Leeuwarden. Inspired by Malta’s underground infrastructure dating back as far as the 15th century, Subterranean Matter will be a virtual experience.
 
For Subterranean Matter, Wijnsma captured and recreated in real-size several underground spaces otherwise hard to access: The Great Siege Cisterns underneath Valletta’s Law Courts (15th century), Valletta’s WW II war rooms (dug out during World War II), an underground bunker in the center of Leeuwarden (Cold War) and modern water aqueducts from Friesland (21st century). 

The underground spaces featured in Subterranean Matter have been carefully 3D scanned and recreated. Visitors can crawl through the digitised holes and walk into the tunnels, look around, see the detailed structure of the stones and the soil and smell the humidity. Subterranean Matter is a virtual work making accessible through emerging technology what otherwise is invisible to most.

Since the European Cultural Capital 2018, Subterranean Matter has grown into a bigger digital underground network, with added 3D scanned tunnels from all over the world.

Credits:
Commissioned by European Cultural Capitals 2018 Valetta/Leeuwarden.
3D scan by PLAN3D Berlin

The digitised Great Siege Cisterns, including its connecting air raid shelters. Valletta, Malta.

Subterranean Matter exhibited at Werkleitz Festival 2018, Halle, Germany. Curated by Juliane Schickedanz.

Wijnsma exploring underground spaces in Malta. Photo by Bradley Garrett

Credits:
Commissioned by European Cultural Capitals 2018 Valetta/Leeuwarden.
3D scan by PLAN3D Berlin