The third and final installation carried
out under the name of C.O.T.I.S. (Cult Of The Inserter
Seat) by KIT is completed in 1999 as a site-specific
project at the Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in Melbourne,
Australia. The Tower of C.O.T.I.S. work is the most
graphic representation of the ‘fusion’ beliefs
of the fabricated cult.
KIT initiate a relationship with a company
in the hinterlands of the city of Melbourne, which owns an
airfield, fills it with crashed aircrafts and then rents the
wrecked planes out to television and film crews. KIT choose
a plane to work with. The wings and tail sections are amputated
from the semi-mangled aircraft leaving only the semi - twisted
fuselage in place. A Saturday morning, Melbourne’s Gertrude
Street witnesses a large truck pull up slowly outside the
gallery, a wrecked plane balanced precariously on its tray.
A 12x8ft window is removed from the gallery, a wall taken
down and the plane is swung into the space via a crane.
Months before, documentation and measurements
of the original wings and tail sections had been taken and
new versions constructed. At 40% of the original size, the
new wings and tail are exact replicas of the original, but
are too small to function and became merely symbolic gestures
of serviceable reconstruction. The sections are also padded
and upholstered with a digitally printed canvas, which furnishes
them with an aesthetic of domestic comfort. Aerial views of
landscapes, which have had aircraft crash into them, have
been printed onto the fabric used for the upholstering of
the wings and tail. Finding comfort in the event of an air
crash, the C.O.T.I.S. cult takes the next step of
worship, by reconstructing the sacred object of the plane.
By re-making the wings and tail sections
too small to work, a different narrative or desire is suggested.
Whilst C.O.T.I.S. yearn for the form to be rehabilitated,
they wish it to be done in such a way that renders the plane
unable to leave again. The reconstruction of the amputated
parts of the plane is carried out with a fetishistic zeal,
rendering them aesthetically pleasing but functionally useless.
The desire to possess the form has led to the active debilitation
Within what is left of the cockpit of the
plane, a voice is periodically amplified in a random pattern,
repeating the same words “and the time will be”,
sometimes 10 repeat one after another, at other times just
once every 4-6 minutes. The recording is from a real black
box recorder of a crashed aircraft. The words “and the
time will be” are constantly reiterated during a flight
and at the end of the sentence, the time is given, so should
there be a crash, investigators will know the exact timeline
The final component comprising the C.O.T.I.S.
trilogy of installations, focuses on how the science, technology,
security and travel industries attempt to appease cultural
fear and shore up economic confidence after a crash. Attempting
to piece a plane back together shard by shard after a crash,
as in the case of the TWA Flight 800 in 1996, is as much a
totemic gesture as it is a scientific gesture. Through the
rebuilding of the fractured and shattered aircraft, a psycho-geographic
space is opened up which allows sci-tech companies to demonstrate
the capabilities of new technologies. They are the types of
devices that can detect pieces of metal, the size of a hand,
through 10 metres of mud, 4 miles away from the crash site.
The underlying message reads - technology failed us this time,
but we have new technologies to find the fragments, allowing
us to put the object back together again. The act of reconstruction
becomes an exercise of rebuilding consumer trust, literally
piece by piece, a suturing of the wound opened up by the accident,
in the body of technologies promise.
Tower of C.O.T.I.S. exhibits
at the following gallery –
1999 Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne,