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)