Ok, so what’s this guy up to? (answer after the jump)

Yes, he is an Austrian. His name is Miguel Gonzalez. No, even though he looks as though he is earnestly searching for his country’s national identity, he is in fact checking out the view here on the other side of the Earth.

It’s 7.5° and back, a collaborative project by Gonzalez and Wellington artist Alannah Gunter. In Linz, Austria passers-by watch a monitor inside a canal-tube (above) and are in turn watched by a webcam. Placed at 7.5° to the earth, the camera-tube is a virtual tunnel through the earth to Wellington where the live image screens nightly at the Film Archive Loading Bay. A similar camera-tube is installed in Abel Smith street; what it sees is what the Linz passers-by will see.

It’s all part of the Linz Center of Contemporary Art’s 2008 art-project Tiefenrausch (Rapture of the deep) – Art and Tours through the Underworlds of Linz. Gonzalez came up with the idea to create a virtual hole drilled at an angle of 7.5 degrees through to the other side of the planet, and emerging in Wellington.

Linz is a technology and knowledge–based urban industrial centre in Austria. It takes culture very seriously and places tremendous value on ecologically-oriented quality of life. This year Linz has been named co-holder of the title European Capital of Culture, a fitting match for Wellington as New Zealand’s so-called cultural capital.

It’s not a completely original idea — see for example the Telectroscope which magically links London and New York — also remember when Telecom had those view-portals installed in Waring-Taylor St and then Courtenay Central which were linked to Cashell Mall in Christchurch and somewhere in Auckland? — but it promises to be a bit of fun, fer sure.

Drill more holes through the Earth (ok, kinda) using Ze Frank’s If The Earth Were A Sandwich Google Maps mash-up toy.

Date: Monday 23 June – Sunday 13 July
Time: 7pm-7am
Loc’n: The loading bay on the Taranaki side of the Film Archive building; somewhere as yet undetermined in Abel Smith Street