Connection KIT



Connection KIT

Much of KIT’s work in 1996 - 98 revolves around concepts of fabricated landscapes in the digital form of the Internet and in physical form through the quasi-natural interiors of banks, hotels and airports. A site-specific project made for the New Gallery in Calgary, Canada in 1996, Connection KIT , looks at acts of connection as process’ by which we generate meaning. The project focuses in on the insatiable desire to be connected to not only more people, more of the time, but also to be connected to ‘natural phenomena’ as well as to be ‘connected’, just to be ‘connected’ via ‘new technologies’.

Airports are the natural habitat of KIT members, running to make a connection is a way of life. Waiting amongst the plastic fauna of airport lounges informs the installation of Connection KIT. Since the central tenet of human movement within an airport is surveillance, one of the strategies carried out to guide people around the architecture is to construct a sense of calm and ‘natural order’ through areas redolent with plastic trees and plants.

Upon opening the door of the gallery, the audience are faced with a large wall with a small opening at the left-hand end to walk through. A range of 8 suitcases sit near to the opening and a sign on a chrome stand reads ‘Please take a bag to make your connection’.

Inside the gallery a desk, akin to the table of a customs officer who wishes to further check a bag’s contents, has been fabricated in grey melamine. On the opposite side of the desk, a mirror image construction holds 12 plastic plants amongst woodchips. Hidden amongst the plants is a suitcase with a square hole cut in its side. Inside the case, clothes line a 6-inch space down to a monitor. An interactive program asks the participant to choose the best way in which to hide explosives whilst travelling internationally. A trackball replaces one of the wheels on the bottom of the suitcase to allow people to construct a terrorist plan.

Facing the planted suitcase is another suitcase, albeit opened on the opposite desk as if awaiting inspection. Secreted amongst the clothes in this case is another monitor, with a video playing of the bag in question being sorted through. Beyond the desk, on an institutional piece of grey carpeting, lies two piles of objects. On the side facing the hidden suitcase is a pile of similar sized cases. On the other side is a large pile of clear bags with white powder in them. Extending out of each pile are two wires with adaptors on the end. The suitcase which the audience member has carried through into this space has 2 ports in it, each port constructed in each keyhole where the key should fit to open the case. Slotting the adaptor from each pile into the ports of the suitcase triggers the whole installation to work and is the key to making it interactive. A video projects from the main desk onto the pile of suitcases and smoke arises from the pile of white powdered bags as if they were being burnt.

The final connection being focused upon is the complicit nature of connection between the media and factions of society who use the airport as an arena of transfer. This transfer could be items such as drugs or of ideological protest in the form of terrorism. The latter needs the citadel of surveillance which we call the airport as a place to enact their spectacle within, so that a worldwide population will be made aware of their ‘message’. In this way the airport becomes a surveilled conduit, a mediated connection to the wider world.

Connection KIT exhibits at the following gallery –

1996   The New Gallery (Calgary, Canada)