An Artist Decides To Commemorate His Cat, But Not In A Way You Would Expect
Losing a pet is always hard, but whichever way you choose to go mourn, it usually results in letting go and moving on. Some opt to have their pets buried. Some go with cremation. And there’s what Dutch artist Bart Jansen did.
Jansen’s cat Orville was hit by a car and killed. To honor Orville’s memory, Jansen decided to turn him into an art project. Specifically, he decided to turn him into a helicopter. Really.
The cat was preserved and mounted on a frame with the legs outstretched, and rotors were attached to each paw. This turned the body into a quadcopter. Jansen worked with model airplane pilot Arjen Beltman to ensure Orville’s flight would be steady, and designed a plastic undercarriage for the cat to ensure a “dignified landing,” whatever that means.
Jansen describes his creation as “the Orvillecopter, half cat, half machine,” and maintains that this project is his way on honoring his cat. The idea to turn the cat into an aircraft came from the cat’s name; Orville was named after famous aviator Orville Wright, and Jansen reports that Orville’s brother, Wilbur, is still alive and well.
Naturally, other people aren’t so keen on the idea of a cat copter, and have inundated Jansen with hateful comments, calling him “sick” and “perverted.” PETA also denounced the art piece, calling it “macabre,” and some have accused Jansen of animal cruelty. This is all despite the fact that Orville was converted into a helicopter posthumously. On the video of Orville’s flight, Jansen brushes off the allegations of cruelty and general indecency: “For the cat lovers: it’s a tanned hide, just like the shoes you’re wearing.”
This isn’t the first time Jansen’s art has drawn controversy, but it very well may be (and we hope it is) the first quadcopter made out of a dead cat. He’s managed to convince enough people that this is high art, and Orville is currently on display in a gallery in Amsterdam as part of the KunstRAI arts festival. The controversy might also have drummed up some business for Jansen: there’s a bid on Orville for €100,000. For his part, Jansen seems to have taken to creating levitating taxidermied animals; a later project involved attaching propellers and motors to a mounted ostrich.