The Intentional Recreation of an Accidental Encounter

An Intentional REcreation of an Accidental Encounter OTTER stealing the show

In October of 2010, Pete was asked to produce a piece for an exhibition, 'The Show', being held in Reading's King's Walk in December of that year. He started making plans for the piece.

It was to be a strange kind of experiment. One aimed at trying to recreate his first co-incidental encounters with the word 'OTTER'. As a 15 year old, Pete first discovered the word through a series of strange encounters and co-incidences (this is a separate story of it's own that will be unveiled shortly). It happened enough times that Pete grasped hold of the word and took it as his own. The idea evolved over the years into the form that it has taken shape into now, the black and white striped man. This was not always what OTTER was and will not always be what OTTER is.


But the beginning of OTTER's story is what is important here, Pete's first accidental encounters with the word OTTER. His idea for The Show was to switch the co-incidence around and have OTTER try and create a chance encounter with the word 'pete' using a system relying on randomly generated variables dependent on the audience and other controlled mechanisms throughout the show.

The audience

Pete created the parts required for the show and went over with OTTER what he needed to do. December came round and OTTER was ready to make the presentation and attempt to recreate the accidental encounter for The Show. He, however, had other plans. 10 minutes before the show was to start Pete received a call from one of the events organisers, asking where OTTER was, he hadn't turned up! There was no sign of him and as always he was completely uncontactable. Pete, only part of the way through getting ready to go enjoy the show from the sidelines, had to throw some clothes on and rush to fill in where OTTER was not.

So instead of OTTER presenting his experiment to try and recreate his first chance experience of the word 'Pete', it came to Pete searching for his own name in the pages of some of his favourite books. To make matters even more muddled, OTTER eventually turned up, half an hour late, then proceeded to cause havoc and annoyance for both Pete and the audience members trying to understand the experiment.

OTTER with Pete, trying to make his presentation

To start the experiment, Pete put together his top 20 books, as some of biggest influences in his creative life. These were put in an order and the experiment began by counting the number of audience members in the room, this number determined which book would be selected to at the start to work with.

The diagram below shows how the complete experiment was planned to run.

The Mathematics behind the recreations
Projecting the pages of the books

The Intentional Recreation of an Accidental Encounter was the first real sign of the breakdown that was to come between Pete and OTTER. Tension has beginning to grow between the pair with OTTER pushing Pete further and further. A battle for power was underway and only one of them would be walking away from it.