|Dimensions||100 × 50 × 100 cm|
3D Lidar scan, latex print on acrylic light-box, 60x60cm.
Drawing upon a background in architecture, New Zealand-based artist Chirag Jindal works at the intersection of documentary journalism, new media art and cartography. His current practice explores his subjects through the gaze of an emerging form of laser imaging technology known as LiDAR – a method otherwise applied in surveying landscapes, built environments and archaeological ruins. Using light as a medium, this instrument registers its surroundings in millions of precisely-measured points, translating the physical world into a digital facsimile. When present, colour is sourced from a traditional photographic process, where the saturated hues of textures and surfaces are mapped onto each individual point of data.
In Into the Underworld, Jindal employs this technique to document the lava caves of Auckland, an unseen, dilapidated landscape devastated by a century of rapid urban sprawl. This ancient network of subterranean spaces – once the wāhi tapu (sacred) grounds for urupā (burial) – now lie under the suburban boundaries of private backyards, tree-lined streets, public schools and petrol stations, where construction debris, stormwater pipes and rubbish heaps litter the inside. Reduced to urban myths and fictional narratives, their existence is not common knowledge amongst the wider public and are largely ignored by the developers that destroy them. The caves lie less than a few metres under the surface, and upon discovery are filled with concrete and rubble to make way for roads, multi-unit apartments, public hospitals and housing blocks. While more than 50 sites have been recorded in the past, very few will remain by the end of the century.
Carrying heavy LiDAR instruments and collaborating with a team of speleologists, local landowners and city council, Jindal has crawled through roadside manholes and streetfront garages to record 11 sites across the city. The formerly invisible caves – rumoured rather than known – are indexed as scientifically-observed coordinates and projected onto the plane of a cartesian grid. The resulting images – a series of 11 orthographic sections – are not merely sketches or second-hand accounts, but tracings of the world. In them we find a deliberately exposed dichotomy, pitting vehicles, roads, trees, houses and other mundane paraphernalia against huge underground cavities transformed by the debris of this suburban surface.
Through an exercise of exploring, measuring, archiving and projecting, Jindal takes an empirical approach to bring something fictionalised and inaccessible into the domain of public visibility. By casting new light on something to be recognised and preserved, the work invites us to reflect on the invisible repercussions of our increasingly urbanised environment.
2013, University of Auckland, Bachelor of Architectural Studies
2016, University of Auckland, Master of Architecture (First Class Honours)
Four Futures, George Fraser Gallery, Auckland NZ
World Illustration Awards, AOI, Somerset House, London UK
The Auckland School: Celebrating the Centenary of the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland NZ
RT Nelson Emerging Artist Award, NZ Art Fair, Wellington NZ
Into The Underworld / Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua, Silo 6, Auckland NZ
Private Collections, Auckland NZ
Private Collections, Wellington NZ
Private Collections, Melbourne AUS
The Architecture of Katabasis, MArch. Thesis, 2016
The Architecture of Katabasis, The Art of the Point Cloud, 2018
Into The Underworld / Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua: A catalogue of critical texts, 2018
NZIA Student Design Award 2014
NZIA Student Design Award 2015
DINZ Best Design Awards 2016
AOI World Illustration Awards 2017 (Finalist)
The Lumen Prize 2018 (Finalist)
RT Nelson Emerging Artist Award 2019
NZ Art Fair People’s Choice Award 2019
|Dimensions||100 × 50 × 100 cm|