C.O.T.I.S. Movie



C.O.T.I.S. Movie

The second project produced under the guise of the C.O.T.I.S. / KIT relationship is commissioned in 1998 by ‘Experimenta’ Media Arts in Melbourne, Australia. The curatorial remit for the exhibition is ‘Viruses and Mutations’ which also becomes its title.

KIT / C.O.T.I.S. are invited to develop a work for the show because of their interest in the synthesis of human / machine in the event of an air crash, when a body is literally forged to merge and weld with the metal, glass and plastic of the plane. If contemporary culture can be said to have a viral framework, it is because we live our lives in passageways and veins of possible transmission. Our bodies, computers and friends are all open recipients for viruses, in fluid, program and marketing forms. In the 1960’s William Burroughs famously coined the phrase ‘language is a virus’. KIT / C.O.T.I.S. take this statement and read it through Philip K. Dick, to posit the term ‘paranoia is a virus’ and think that this may better entropically explain the pre/post millennial zeitgeist.

With a three word statement of intent in hand, KIT / C.O.T.I.S. plan to fabricate a hospital machine that will plant a memetic trope into the mind of the patient. Reversing the trajectory for the patient who is delivered to the hospital after an accident, the C.O.T.I.S Movie machine works in a hospital and seeds a crosshair of paranoia before the accident happens.

The machine that is constructed is based upon scanners which reside in the St. Vincents hospital. For a 6-month period prior to the exhibition, photographs and video are taken, and interviews are carried out with doctors and patients who regularly use scanners within the context of the medical facility. A Scanner is a machine which reveals interior landscapes of the body. KIT / C.O.T.I.S. are interested in constructing a scanner which projects the body into a future landscape. As such, when a patient sits on the scanner, the C.O.T.I.S. Movie machine foretells the longitudinal and latitudinal points of where they will crash to earth in an aircraft accident. The date and time is told and a video shows the descent at terminal velocity through the clouds down to earth.

Surrounded by seductively upholstered speaker units on wheels, the scanner is activated by the patient’s body weight and movement. A chair from a crashed aircraft has been reupholstered and fitted with sensors which link to a computer and trigger different series of sound and video events. A patient sits down and moves in the chair, initiating a sonic scan which pans from left to right and front to back. This process lasts for approximately 3-minutes. Static noise from 10 aircraft’s black box recorders, after the planes have crashed, is used as the source sound for this scan. There are 10 different sound scans that can be triggered from a randomly programmed database.

After the scan has taken place, if the patient is anxious, more signals are read through the sensors, meaning that the date and time of the crash is projected as being sooner than if they sit relatively still. The longitudinal and latitudinal points, which make up the crosshairs of their projected descent, are also generated from a database programmed to respond to movement on the seat. For KIT / C.O.T.I.S. the projection of terminal velocity, which results in the fusion of the body and machine, is the ultimate by-product promise of bio-technology and for these reasons the C.O.T.I.S. Movie machine is as much a scanner of synthesized desire as it is a purveyor of prophecy.

C.O.T.I.S. Movie exhibits at the following site –

1998   St.Vincents Hospital / Experimenta Media Arts (Melbourne, Australia)