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The Tunnel

23 day assault by tunnel in Marseille, projecting a private space through a public place.

Project realized March, 2000During a three week performance/exhibition, the artist and a crew of workers bored a tunnel through a building housing galleries, offices and studios, punching through walls and doorways. During this time the artist lived in the tunnel.

The tunnel was constructed of wood and steel, and formed an overhead passage that follows the contour of the rooms it crossed, fixed at the upper corner of the rooms, where wall meets ceiling. The passage was generally the dimensions of a crawl space, occasionally widening to accommodate turn-arounds, living space, and storage. The workers worked entirely from within the tunnel at the ceiling height and continued until they reached the other side, about 100 meters total. All the materials were brought through the tunnel, from the tunnel “entrance” to the current work point; just the opposite of the way an escape tunnel would be made, taking the material dug out of the length of the tunnel.

The tunnel appropriated a separate space from the gallery; visitors did not have access to the tunnel; nor did the workers emerge. Termites worked in the tunnel at all times during gallery hours but were never seen outside of the tunnel. The termites had specific dress at all times when on the job. a unique costume. The design of these costumes was based loosely on Roller Derby uniforms, punked out gym wear and protective gear.

Viewers were able to catch glimpses through the tunnel wall’s loose structure of the workers as they moved around working and follow the progress of bodies and materials through the tunnel by the sounds of crawling and dragging and video monitors.

Live Video Feed and Webcast

The Tunnel utilized electronic media as a primary platform for visitors to view the piece. There was live video cameras installed in the tunnel fed to four monitors located on the gallery floor displaying different views of the tunnel’s interior and work sites. The viewers coould also send instant e-mail messages to the workers, having on-line chats about the progress of the piece and how they feel today, whatever.