Much of KIT’s work in 1996 - 98 revolves
around concepts of fabricated landscapes in the digital form
of the Internet and in physical form through the quasi-natural
interiors of banks, hotels and airports. A site-specific project
made for the New Gallery in Calgary, Canada in 1996, Connection
KIT , looks at acts of connection as process’ by
which we generate meaning. The project focuses in on the insatiable
desire to be connected to not only more people, more of the
time, but also to be connected to ‘natural phenomena’
as well as to be ‘connected’, just to be ‘connected’
via ‘new technologies’.
Airports are the natural habitat of KIT members,
running to make a connection is a way of life. Waiting amongst
the plastic fauna of airport lounges informs the installation
of Connection KIT. Since the central tenet of human
movement within an airport is surveillance, one of the strategies
carried out to guide people around the architecture is to
construct a sense of calm and ‘natural order’
through areas redolent with plastic trees and plants.
Upon opening the door of the gallery, the
audience are faced with a large wall with a small opening
at the left-hand end to walk through. A range of 8 suitcases
sit near to the opening and a sign on a chrome stand reads
‘Please take a bag to make your connection’.
Inside the gallery a desk, akin to the table
of a customs officer who wishes to further check a bag’s
contents, has been fabricated in grey melamine. On the opposite
side of the desk, a mirror image construction holds 12 plastic
plants amongst woodchips. Hidden amongst the plants is a suitcase
with a square hole cut in its side. Inside the case, clothes
line a 6-inch space down to a monitor. An interactive program
asks the participant to choose the best way in which to hide
explosives whilst travelling internationally. A trackball
replaces one of the wheels on the bottom of the suitcase to
allow people to construct a terrorist plan.
Facing the planted suitcase is another suitcase,
albeit opened on the opposite desk as if awaiting inspection.
Secreted amongst the clothes in this case is another monitor,
with a video playing of the bag in question being sorted through.
Beyond the desk, on an institutional piece of grey carpeting,
lies two piles of objects. On the side facing the hidden suitcase
is a pile of similar sized cases. On the other side is a large
pile of clear bags with white powder in them. Extending out
of each pile are two wires with adaptors on the end. The suitcase
which the audience member has carried through into this space
has 2 ports in it, each port constructed in each keyhole where
the key should fit to open the case. Slotting the adaptor
from each pile into the ports of the suitcase triggers the
whole installation to work and is the key to making it interactive.
A video projects from the main desk onto the pile of suitcases
and smoke arises from the pile of white powdered bags as if
they were being burnt.
The final connection being focused upon is
the complicit nature of connection between the media and factions
of society who use the airport as an arena of transfer. This
transfer could be items such as drugs or of ideological protest
in the form of terrorism. The latter needs the citadel of
surveillance which we call the airport as a place to enact
their spectacle within, so that a worldwide population will
be made aware of their ‘message’. In this way
the airport becomes a surveilled conduit, a mediated connection
to the wider world.
Connection KIT exhibits
at the following gallery –
1996 The New Gallery (Calgary, Canada)