|2018||Francesca Panetta,Nicole Jackson|
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“With Underworld, we’ve created an experience that puts the viewer in charge of their own journey – allowing them to explore the hidden labyrinth of Victorian sewers beneath London that they didn’t even know existed.”
— Francesca Panetta, director, to The Guardian
Underworld is a VR experience that invites viewers to take a journey through the underground tunnels of London’s sewer system, in place since the Victorian times. Narrated by the urban explorer and geographer Bradley Garret, this piece begins below the streets on one of London’s lost waterways, the river Fleet, and continues through the sewers underneath the Smithfield meat market and down to the floodgates of the river Thames.
In 1851 London was the largest city in the world. In order to manage the smell of the city and the cholera outbreaks from the sewage, an engineer Joseph Bazalgette was tasked to build this extensive sewage system that spans over 1,100 miles under London. Still in use today, these tunnels are occupied by sewer technicians and cleaners that maintain this complex and historical infrastructure of the city. This VR piece is paired with a web-based interactive documentary that details this history as well as a photo series, article, and podcast that covers multiple facets of the story.