Into The Underworld (2018)
Project info

Into the Underworld is a series of 11 works produced using LiDAR - a form of laser imaging technology applied in surveying landscapes, built environments and archaeological ruins. Taking light as medium, this instrument registers its surroundings in millions of precisely-measured points, translating the world into a digital facsimile of light and shadow. When present, colour is mapped from a traditional photographic process, tracing the saturated hues of textures and surfaces onto each individual point of data.

Jindal has employed 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 burial grounds, refuse middens, air raid shelters and mushroom farms - now lie under the suburban boundaries of private backyards, tree-lined streets, public schools and petrol stations, where construction debris 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. Upon discovery, they are erroneously filled with concrete and roadfill to make way for multi-unit apartments, public hospitals and housing blocks.

Unreported discoveries are made yearly, and while more than fifty sites have been recorded in the past, very few will remain by the end of this century.

Working with a team of speleologists and collaborating with landowners and local council, Jindal has climbed 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 as orthographic dioramas. In a mode of exploring, archiving and projecting, Into the Underworld brings tracings of something inaccessible into the domain of public visibility, casting light on the lasting repercussions of unpoliced urbanisation.