Opinion: Orvillecopter

POSTED: 06/1/12 12:05 PM

Animal welfare organizations in the Netherlands are disgusted by a work of art that is currently on display at the ArtRai in Amsterdam: Orvillecopter. When we first saw the picture we had to think about a book we once read entitled (seriously) 101 things you can do with a dead cat. What the artist did with Orvillecopter certainly did not come from this book that was intended to be funny.

Bart Jansen, part of the art cooperative Generaal Pardon describes the orvillecopter as “half cat, half machine.” He is named, obviously, after the famous aviator Orville Wright.

Before he became Orvillecopter, the cat was the artist’s pet, until he (the cat) got killed by a car.

“After a period of mourning he received his propellers posthumously,” Jansen writes in the description of his handiwork.

Orvillecopter’s really flies, too: it made its first test flight on March 9 of this year.
“Soon to be flying with the birds. Oh how he loved birds. He will receive more powerful engines and larger props for his birthday. So this hopping will soon change into steady flight,” Jansen muses.

He also has a message for cat lovers: “It is a tanned hide, just like the shoes you’re wearing. For the RC lovers: it’s a Lotus T580 (obviously not powerful enough, so new stuff has been ordered).”

We figure this is a reference to the technical equipment that makes Orville fly.

Jansen certainly managed to kick start the discussion about what’s art and what’s not. And about what’s disgusting and what’s tasteful. Jansen would find himself in good company with Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, the first ever married gay couple who tied the knot in Amsterdam in 2002. These Italian artists just released their latest creation: The Dream of every Italian. It is a display of the deceased Silvio Berlusconi (who is not deceased at all) with one hand in his trousers. The artists did not choose a random title for their work: it is what Berlusconi called himself on the phone when talking to one of his many girlfriends.
Oh, for interested art lovers this is the medium Bart Jansen used for Orvillecopter:  taxidermy cat, polyester casing, quad-copter. Size: life size cat. Price: $12,500.

Artistic freedom knows no borders, as the creations by Jansen and by the Italians show. That’s the way it ought to be. But we don’t have to like everything that is presented to us under the guise of art.

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