Recombinations

Recombinations by Kurt is a piece about connection, chance, agency, and the artist as social engineer. I conceived the notion of creating random groupings of unrelated people while taking a shuttle bus home from the airport. How odd, I thought, that so many of life’s primary events hinge on random situations, on coincidences, on the proximity of one stranger to another. As an artist, the opportunity to “play god”, in this sense, presented itself. Thus I created another fictional organization, Recombinations by Kurt, whose purpose would be to create unexpected connections.

With a team of workers (all clad in matching yellow jumpsuits) I re-combined the audience into speculative groupings. My staff selected audience members randomly, gave them a group number, and told them to wait to be called up. I then called them up group by group, handed them props (to put them at ease and create a playful mood) and photographed them, in a style which might be termed ‘drunken high-school yearbook’. I printed the photos out on the spot, exhibiting a large version and handing each participant a souvenir snapshot. In essence I created a human-based ‘machine’ for creating images and experiences, with the structure of the piece, my workers, and the participants all acting as components of this machine. Again and again I come back to this theme of a participatory structure, which I believe is a direct result of my architectural education. In any case, I am drawn to the immediacy and electricity of such an approach. For the debut of Recombinations by Kurt, I recombined 81 people, in 9 groups of 9 people each.