Tower of C.O.T.I.S.



Tower of C.O.T.I.S.

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 of it.

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 of events.

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, Australia)