Bringing It Back Alive

Outline

 

Bringing it Back Alive

A large vacated chain bookshop called ‘Blackwells’ is used for this project in 1997. The IDEA organisation from Manchester, UK curate a dozen artists into the space for a project called ‘36MC’. Artists have 3-months previous to the exhibition to construct their projects and for the final 36 hours before the opening, they are all willingly locked into the space to finish the works.

Bringing it Back Alive is the first piece KIT produce utilizing the punchbag as a physical object. Within the bookshop, KIT construct a walled off space and paint it a dark green colour. A large punchbag similar to those found in a boxing gym is produced. The material used to cover it is of a floral patterned green / golden brown velour nature. The inside of the bag has pressure sensors sewn into every inch of the bag, which is then filled with sand and hung up on the ceiling via a thick metal chain.

Each pressure pad inside the bag is wired up to a different key on an old ‘Apple Mac’ keyboard which sits hidden outside the space. The keyboard is connected to a computer which plays video and sound sequences every time the bag is hit. The sound is amplified through hidden speakers in the ceiling, whilst the video is projected onto the floor. Two 12 inch high hollowed circular plinths have been constructed in the gallery. They are both identical, covered in Astroturf and reside at either end of the space. The plinth at the farthest end offers a level from which to hit the punchbag. The plinth at the nearest end to the entrance of the space has white sand placed in the hollow of the plinth and this is where the circular video is projected down into.

The floor of the space is completely covered in wood chips, which along with the astro turf and floral material suggests a controlled quasi natural landscape, projected onto both literally and metaphorically. The punchbag which acts as a stand in for the missing physical body of the mythological creature, offers the most base interaction, that of punching an object to get a reaction. There are 26 different short video segments that can be triggered by hitting it and each has its own soundtrack. Every segment consists of photographs or video taken over the past 70 years of ‘Yeti’ footprints. The sound accompanying each piece is an alleged recording of the ‘Yeti’ or ‘Bigfoot’.

The ‘Yeti’ or ‘Bigfoot’ is a mythical creature, a collective projection of our desire for there to exist a lost race of half animal/ half human beings. There is a wealth of documentation in video, sonic and photographic form, but no physical body to prove or disprove the theory of this innocent beast which bears no direct relationship to technology other than being caught in its range of lenses or microphones. In this sense, mythical creatures such as the ‘Yeti’ or the Loch Ness Monster, become quite literally the ‘Ghost in the Machine’. Creatures which have no physical presence in our mediated world, but instead live through our video / digital cameras and mindisk / DAT players. Alluding to a desire which exists in cultures throughout the world, Bringing it Back Alive speaks of the need for ‘beyond human’ lifeforms to exist mythologically and exposes the role of technology in supporting this need. This desire also expresses itself in western culture via the will to supplement and enhance the ‘natural’ human form through technology; allowing us to hide from time and decay and ultimately to become in return, mythical again.

Bringing it Back Alive exhibits at the following site –

1997   The Blackwells Building / IDEA (Manchester, England)