Dutch artist Bart Jansen has caused controversy and angered animal groups by converting the body of his dead pet cat Orville into a remote-controlled model helicopter. Orville was tragically killed by a car, but rather than letting go and burying his pet, Jansen decided that the best way to “honor” the dead cat was to turn into a quadrocopter with a rotor attached to each outstretched paw. It is not the first time Jansen’s work has been met with outrage, but this is the first time he has sought to pass a dead cat off as “art.”
The story has, unsurprisingly, gone viral, provoking both outrage and disbelief, but Jansen is standing firmly behind his creation. Writing on his website, the artist described the cat-helicoptor hybrid as “The Orvillecopter, half cat, half machine – named after the famous aviator Orville Wright. He was killed by a car. After a period of mourning he received his propellers posthumously.”
“For the cat lovers: it’s a tanned hide, just like the shoes you’re wearing,” Jansen added. “Soon to be flying with the birds. Oh, how he loved the birds.”
Working with model airplane pilot Arjen Beltman, Jansen made sure that the rotor blades ensure maximum flight stability while a plastic undercarriage allows for a “dignified landing”. Surely whatever dignity Orville once had has long since gone.
Unsurprisingly, Jansen has received a lot of hate mail with people calling him “perverted”, “sick” and a whole host of other colorful adjectives. “It’s a macabre way to honor a beloved family member,” PETA told MSNBC. Orville is currently being exhibited at an Amsterdam gallery as part of the KunstRAI art festival where online interest has driven the price tag up to €100,000.