C.O.T.I.S. (Cult Of The Inserter Seat)

C.O.T.I.S. is developed as a new series of works for the KIT collaboration in 1998. Given that KIT is a collaboration which negates individuals identity within its structure, one of the ideas behind developing C.O.T.I.S. is to further extend and abstract the identity of our production. Through the creation of a fictional cult, KIT blur the role and agency of their members as it is not clear who is working for whom and in what capacity.

A manifesto stating the interests and aims of C.O.T.I.S. is written and published as a catalogue text and in books such as the 'Art of the Accident' published by the Netherlands Architectural Institute / V2 organisation in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The manifesto can be viewed by clicking on the catalogue text button in the C.O.T.I.S. section.

As clarified in the manifesto, C.O.T.I.S.’ interests reside in the worship of aircraft disasters, and more specifically in plane crashes. As many conversations abound in the 1990’s, expounding upon the ‘becoming’ of the cyborg and the fusion of the human body and psychology with technology, C.O.T.I.S. focus on the current ways in which the body truly fuses with the machine. Rather than promising, proselytising and projecting how the machine and human would meld seamlessy irrelevant of gender, racial, or sexual based politics, C.O.T.I.S. holds aloft the aircrash as the perfect example of this synthesis. As such, black humour is utilized as a strategy and as a tool, to prick the inflated promises handed to us by the purveyors of progress, technology and science.

Shipping containers are the most consistent units of standardised space in the history of the human world. A shipping container has to be the same size in Argentina as it is in Ethiopia as it is in Belgium. As a form of transient architecture, for a group who need to travel with their homes from crash-site to crash-site, it is the ultimate portable habitat, accepted at any port to any country. The ratio of a shipping container is also similar to a black box recorder from an aircraft. The notion of residing in an enlarged black box is proposed by C.O.T.I.S. as the quintessential way to live within the confines of the crash.

A black box recorder from an aircraft is in fact coloured red to make it easier to find in the event of a crash. The C.O.T.I.S. shipping container is therefore painted the same colour. Inside the container false walls are built with a small partition at the back end. The walls are all padded with foam and upholstered with a digitally printed fabric. An eyepiece is planted in the back end wall through which a video can be watched showing the descent of an aircraft as it plummets at terminal velocity towards the ground. The fabric, which adorns the walls, has had aerial photographs printed on it. These photographs are of landscapes around Holland where there have been plane crashes. Drawn on top of the landscapes are outlines of pieces of wreckage that have been garnered from past photographs of the ‘fusion’ event.

Speakers are placed behind the fabric and emit voices in a repetitive fashion. 10 black box recordings from planes that have crashed have been collected by members of KIT / C.O.T.I.S. over the preceding year by becoming part of an internet group which trades images, recordings, objects and stories from plane, car and train crashes. These recordings play repeatedly, mantra like, as the audience members are locked into the padded container for 15-minute periods. A small light offers enough illumination, once the eyes have adjusted, to view the surrounding scenery of human-machine synthesis.

C.O.T.I.S. (Cult Of The Inserter Seat) exhibits at the following sites –

1998   Dutch Electronic Art Festival (DEAF) (Rotterdam, Holland)
           LoveBytes Digital Art Festival (Sheffield, England)