I’m pretty much an equal-opportunity liker when it comes to animals — I do have that zoology degree, after all — but my cat Sir Abner is very near and dear to my heart. I rescued him, nursed him back to health, and he’s since turned into a truly regal feline befitting of his honorific. It’s morbid to think about, sure, but no one lives forever, and he’s probably the only pet I’ve thought about having stuffed. I mean, done right — and I’ve seen a lot of examples, growing up around hunters and all — taxidermy can be a pretty impressive art.
Yet it’s an art that, despite occasional pop forays, has remained rather conservative in its stylings. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, really. Breaking the rote formulas of old has always been the goal of cutting edge artists, but when one is dealing with dead animals, a certain modicum of respect is always a good thing. Hacking apart dead creatures for a half-assed attempt at becoming the next Dr. Moreau just seems like bad karma.
But no convention shall ever remain unbroken. And we live in weird times: Already we’ve become the nation of high-tech video game drone killing, and now we’ve been handed reports that our president keeps his own personal kill list, with which he decides who’s going to be handed a faceless, silent death at the hands of a Predator in an incredible display of the cold caricature of justice-dealing that evokes Charles Bronson movies.
How’s one to comment on that when the Internet is more obsessed with cats? Well, by combing the two, of course. I’m not sure that Dutch artist Bart Jansen had political commentary in mind when he created the Orvillecopter — combining feline roadkill with a quadrotor, and naming it after Orville Wright — but indeed it’s art, whose meaning will lie in the eye of the beholder. And for those that say stitching up a dead animal around the guts of a helicopter and flying it around is “sick,” what of the massive drone industry, which, more than just producing a symbol, is actually creating flying death?
GIF by Daniel Stuckey.
Follow Derek Mead on Twitter: @derektmead.