"Gegenort - The Virtual Mine"

Five artists venture an experiment: At the disused site of the coal mine Gegenort near
Neunkirchen (Saarland, Germany) they enter the shut down pit and resume the drilling.

Their aim is to produce the raw material of the 21st century: data and electric impulses
- carriers of information. They penetrate the globe vertically in the search for new
resources on the opposite side of the earth. According to this principle five boreholes
link ten diametrically opposed places on the planet with one another.
The Gegenort pit leads to the central interface of the boreholes, namely the centre of
the earth, and emits light waves at the site of the disused mine.
The most important raw material at the beginning of the 20th century was coal, a fossil
fuel which had to be converted to energy by men and machines; whereas the primary
resource of the beginning 21st century is Man himself, his imagination, his knowledge -
carrier and transformer of information. For this reason, at the exit points of the boreholes
the media artists involved in the research project look for the creators of artistic
concepts whose ideas and consequently whose energy will be won at Gegenort.
Ten selected concepts will be realized at the site of the disused mine by the initiators of
the experiment and will be exhibited in ten containers.

Therefore, by means of installations and event rooms, the visitor will be able to actually
experience and take part in the artistic idea. Virtuality becomes reality. In a further step
every single work will be recorded by a Webcam and fed into the Internet.
The raw material of our age of communication produced at Gegenort will thus be made
available all over the world and will deliver information and consequently energy for new
ideas, for imagination. Reality becomes virtuality. The wheel comes full circle.

The metamorphosis of art, society and industry will not only find expression at Gegenort
in the artistic concepts involved in the project, but also in their presentation. In contrast
to the heavy industry of the 20th century which created its own monuments in the form
of complicated machines and huge plants, the new century stands for changeability,
short-livedness and the invisible.

The exhibition will be held in containers - symbols and actually building stones of that
fleeting, fragmentary epoch. Loosely laid cables, cameras mounted on existing
structures, light projections - for the duration of the experiment the age of
communication will unfold its hardware and erect a "temporary factory". At the end of
the project all tangible components will disappear and only the energy of the project will
remain in the World Wide Web - invisible, virtual.