There’s a lot of strange stuff out there in the world and on teh internets. That’s no surprise to you. But this is one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever come across.
A Dutch artist named Bart Jansen had a cat named Orville (which is ironic, as you will see) who died after being hit by a car. So he mourned for a while, then converted his dead cat into a helicopter. This isn’t just art — it actually flies. He calls it the Orvillecopter, and describes it as “half-cat, half-machine”. (You could also call it the cat-mobile.) It is literally a taxidermied cat with a propeller attached to each paw and an engine in his stomach, and it is controlled via a remote control.
The artist’s statement says he focuses on the meeting-point between technological progress and human error. I suppose it’s better to wax philosophical about turning your dead cat into a helicopter rather than doing it just because you can. Although I wonder if he came up with that saying before or after this art project. Whatever…
The artist says about his cat “he received his wings posthumously” and “now he is flying with the birds — the greatest goal a cat could ever reach!” (I’m sure there are more puns to be had at this, but that’s enough for this post.)
Of course this “art” has sparked outrage among some animal rights groups. The owner clearly says no animals were harmed for this project, which technically is true. Nonetheless, some people will get offended at anything. At an art fair showcasing Orvillecopter, some anonymous animal rights activists wrote graffiti saying “Kill the animal killers”. Apparently they don’t know the story. That’s like those people (sometimes called trolls) who leave hateful comments without even reading the article. Another activist said the artist should be thrown in a vat of manure when he dies. So is the message that you should do something mean to someone if you disagree with them on ethical issues? Isn’t that highly ironic (and hypocritical)?
Personally, I wouldn’t do this to a family pet. But if he’s going to do it, he might as well go all out. He should make the blades as transparent as possible and have the stand fold up underneath. Then it would look like just a flying cat. He could also consider mounting water pistols on it, to shoot people or animals while dive-bombing them.
If you want to see the Orvillecopter in action, flying around and terrorizing cows, here’s a video (which even features the theme song from Airwolf*):
* Some of you may not know about Airwolf. It was a TV show in the ’80s that featured a secret high-tech military helicopter tricked-out for fighting criminals, who usually flew helicopters, too. I don’t know if the show has aged well (I’ve never seen reruns of it), but as a kid, I thought it was cool. There was cool music and sound effects, and there was usually real explosions. There’s not enough TV sitcoms these days that feature explosions… But I digress… Here’s a brief introduction to Airwolf.