Adam Kalkin: The Remote-Controlled Terrorist Coffin; RMIT
Design and warfare have a close relationship and when there’s a war on, there’s funding for ideas with a military potential. LOOOOADS of funding. Hugo Boss needed funding once. Hugo’s fashion house designed and produced all of those killer Waffen SS uniforms (made by Polish slave labourers). Hugo joined the fledgling Nazi Party and contracts started coming in and saved him from impending bankruptcy. Now he’s a global brand, you pay top dollar for that shit.
Unlike Hugo, who seemed comfortable working in the Death business, Mikhail Kalashnikov was forever haunted by the incredible success and efficiency of his invention: the AK-47 machine gun. Designed as a robust weapon for the Soviet army, the AK has become arguably the most globally prolific automatic weapon. Kalashnikov would describe his invention as “a weapon for defense, not offense”. Unfortunately, the fatal results of using his invention were similar.
Hitler, always on the hunt down for a super weapon, green-lit Wernher von Braun to perfect his long-range rocketry designs. You could call Wernher an innovative, efficient and effective designer. Or a War Criminal of the top order. Hitler was more into tanks and thought rockets were flaky, until Wernher’s V1 ’Doodlebug’ Flying bombs destroyed parts of Great Britain in 1944. Luckily for us, the timing was off and it was too little too late. However, the Americans thought Wernher and his team still showed great design potential, so they took nearly all of them back to the USA to design their Space Program (and their Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles too).
Don’t even get me started on IBM. When I’m not pre-menstrual, I know not to even go there sugah. Adam Kalkin (in collaboration with Aaron Ray-Crichton) has created a provocation that opens up critical discussion around the violent potential of design and the social and legal implications of the rise of technology. The Remote Controlled Terrorist Coffin (RCTC) is a magic box that houses the violent potential of design:
“RCTC raises questions about the role of design in the emergence of military technologies, big data, surveillance, privacy, freedom of movement in public space, regulation of technology, terrorism and the potential risks posed by the ‘outsider’ with access to the internet. It also traces a line from game to warfare in consumer society. The public program opens up a space to carefully and critically explore this terrain through discussion, dialogue and debate with academics, designers, artists and the public.”
Discussion topics include: Drones: The Cultural and Social Impact; Designing for War; The Story of Terror; The Ethics of Design; Art and Freedom of Expression in the Age of Terror; Games and War; Dada, War, Anarchy; and a Skype conversation with Artist/Architect Adam Kalkin.
What terror alert rating are we here in Australia presently sitting on? The threats get stronger each day according to the news, a fertile space for the development of a few more war toys for the boys:
“The RCTC is a model for a full-service terrorist operation, activated from an unspecified location by an unknown operator. It contains both conventional and unconventional weapons to provide a full-range of disruptive options. The RCTC includes a spy drone, surface to air missiles, a large bore mortar cannon, truth gas dispersion unit, attack helicopter squadron, cyber coercion technology and an innovative bio-pestilence feature.”
This is brave art by Adam Kalkin and brave art curating by Grace McQuilten. There is an extensive series of public programs running throughout the exhibition. This is frighteningly important art about frightening and expensive military things.
RMIT Project Space; Building 94:
23-27 Cardigan St; Carlton
16 Feb-26 Mar 2015