Rob Beschizza at 6:04 am Thu, Jun 7, 2012
Good morning. Here is a high-quality photograph of the taxidermy catcopter Xeni posted video of yesterday. [Cris Toala Olivares / Reuters]
⟿ Follow Rob Beschizza on Twitter.
MORE: cats • dead • helicopters • taxidermy • wide
True Detective ends its first season as it began: with two indelible performances [Recap: season 1, episode 8]
Hannibal's terrifying gaze inward, in "Sakizuki" [s2e2]
I can haz cheezeburger. You have ten seconds to comply.
I like that, fuzzyfuzzyfungus.
This could mean war.
Cat-copter in flight / Afternoon…
I hate people who abuse animals.
The cat in question was accidentally hit by a car, so I’m not sure this counts as animal abuse any more than any other form of taxidermy does…
Yeah, except that’s not an animal – It’s some dead fur and bone with some garage tech crammed in alongside it.
It’s builder didn’t kill the cat so that he could shove propellers up it’s ass. If any animals are getting abused here, it’s hyper-touchy sentimentalists who think that everybody else should hew to their own prejudices and preferences….
Call me hyper-touchy and a sentimentalist, but, yuck and squick. (And no, I’m not saying that anybody should hew anything).
It still badly needs a unicorn chaser.
How about a unicorn-copter instead?
Fine, you’re hyper-touchy and a sentimentalist.
Which are not necessarily bad things. It’s a big world. You just might wanna make sure that you’re as unsettled by eating meat or using dead animals in ABSOLUTELY any other way. Like a football or medical dissection. Hyper-touchiness and sentimentalism – Not really all that bad. Hypocrisy – Can easily lead to all KINDS of Bad Things.
Straw man alert! Using animals for food/clothing/shelter is not the same as making one into a helicopter for your amusement.
Of course not! Everybody knows the straw will spill out, much to the detriment of your flight dynamics. That’s why you use something with a secure outer covering… like perhaps a cat.
@keithrc: And how about making a football or a baseball or a guitar string? And, come to think of it, anything at all, since no clothes or shelter need to be made from animal products.
@keithrc- How is that? Where is the difference, it’s just a matter of choice, convenience, or price to use animal products to clothe, feed, shelter, or amuse oneself when there are many alternatives that don’t require killing an animal. There’s no imperative or necessity to using animals for anything (except in subsistence communities). In this case, the animal was already dead, so I don’t see any moral implications.
It’s not an animal anymore. For a short while it was a carcass. Now it’s a quadcopter. Look at it. It’s neither happy or unhappy or feeling abused… it’s a quadcopter.
A quadcopter with an unsettling facial expression. :)
I still want to pet it.
If you do, look out for the blades!
He does look surprised, doesn’t he?
As usual, the expression can be read in multiple ways. I just saw it as intently feline-focused on that which lies ahead. Which seemed appropriate.
I can’t help but think of my own beloved beast when I see that photo. And while I don’t want him to ever die, obviously, the idea of him continuing to terrorize other small (and occasionally large) animals well past his expiration date pleases me. (Or at least amuses me; is there truly a difference?)
But ZOMGs, I can’t imagine doing the actual work. Just thinking about that makes me wanna walk across the room and scratch his back.
From what I understand, that was pretty much exactly the thought process of the artist/taxidermist/pet owner.
I prefer to think that the cat is thinking, “Your ass is MINE, Tweetie Bird”….
You know, if they’d used THAT for the logo of the Art RAI, my wife and I would’ve been there. Good thing RoboDock is tonight!
The issue isn’t how the cat died, it’s the disrespect being shown. You can judge a person’s humanity by how they treat animals. If a person thinks animals are just objects, it’s not a difficult leap to decide that some humans are just objects as well.
Imagine a human being taxidermied and displayed like this. Would that be disrespectful and barbaric?
One of the most despicable phrases I know is “it’s just an animal.”
Part of me wants to be turned into a mummified quad-copter when I die. Who are you to take this dream from me?
Haha. Well, at least you get to make that decision for yourself.
Someday there may be a box on your driver’s license to inform authorities of this.
Just to be sure your heirs get it right, you might want to tattoo motor mount/rotor positions and other relevant specs.
You’ve never been to Körperwelten then ?
For some people burying the deceased in dirt is unthinkable. For many of us letting the dead rot in a sky burial seems distasteful. You can say it’s disrespectful, no problem. That’s just your opinion. Just don’t think it’s some kind of dogma. We hate those.
Don’t use the word “we” as if you’re speaking for other people. Own your words.
Irony, I’m usually aware of it when I use it. Don’t be mad at me… please.
Don’t deny it, Marc. We are Borg and are therefore authorized to speak on behalf of the collective. Jayson will be assimilated. Catcopter will be our mascot. Resistance is futile.
shut it Jayson!! I want to be turned into a super sonic fighter jet and travel the world in an hour
We say we because there is millions of us and only a few haters like you out there. I love my child (Cat) with all my heart and would still make him into the pilot and myself into a fighter jet!! Sign myself over to a real pro pilot!!
The dead don’t rot in a sky burial, they are eaten by vultures and other scavengers.
Yes, that’s pretty much the definition of a sky burial, yes. And because they’re eaten by scavengers those dead somehow mysteriously decide not to rot until all their scavengable parts are consumed completely? Of course they rot! Scavengers don’t mind the smell. On the contrary, they’re attracted by it.
That’s not how sky burial works. The body (including bones) is cut up and mixed with grain and fed to the vultures. It’s not just left to decompose on the mountainside.
Actually, you can judge a person’s humanity by how they treat humans, that’s why it’s called that…you can judge a person’s love of animals by how they treat animals. Personally, I don’t think you should be judging anyone, but whatever, that’s up to you. I’m just glad we finally found a use for cats.
Hmm, then why do we say ‘humane shelters’? Humanity is a lot more than ‘how you treat humans’.
The word “humane” in that context refers to treating animals in a way that’s similar to a way you would treat humans with the same level of need (like infants, elderly people who need help, and anyone else who can’t say, feed themselves), ie. feeding regularly, exercise, etc…it has nothing at all to do with any one person’s humanity. And for the millionth time, THIS ISN’T AN ANIMAL, IT’S A BUNCH OF SHIT THAT USED TO BE AN ANIMAL. GET OVER IT. What’s next, you can’t make a painting of a catcopter because it represents the “inhumane” treatment of stupid cats? What about insects? Are we treating mosquitos “inhumanely” when we squash them? You can’t just save the cute animals, it’s fairness across the board, including annoying animals, or be quiet.
Lighten up, Francis.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” ~ Immanual Kant
Cf. Nietzsche and the horse.
this isn’t an animal, it’s a collection of fur and whatnot that USED to be an animal. I certainly wouldn’t condone the killing of an animal (even a cat, although it’s a close call), but being that this cat was already dead, you can do whatever you want to its earthly remains, including a kickass catcopter.
The heart of this man wants his cat to fly, even if Oscar was hit by a car.
I think I like the guy. I mean, I’d be creeped out if he tried to make Oscar into a helicopter while Oscar was alive, but to turn Oscar’s body into a helicopter? That’s AWESOME, and deeply respectful of his cat. What cat WOULDN’T want to be a helicopter?
I’m looking at my cat right now, thinking she doesn’t really look like she’d be too thrilled to be a helicopter but it after she’s dead and gone and I’ve cried…….it’d be hilarious!
Living things are never “just objects”, but the dead bodies of once living things always are. And like a few other posters on here, I would be genuinely thrilled if I were to be taxidermied into a quadcopter after I die (ideally with powerful laser-pointer eyes).
[EDIT] Well, I would not be thrilled after I’m dead since I’ll be dead, but I’d be thrilled now if someone promised me they’d do it.
LOL, I’d recommend sticking you in ice for 30 years, to take into account how your friends and family might see it, but then, totally.
Are we now considering “abuse” and “disrespect” to be synonymous?
I would think that to avoid disrespecting this cat, we would need to treat its corpse in a manner consistent with its cultural norms. But that sort of thing is generally frowned upon here in the West.
Killing humans is barbaric (except if those humans want to be killed). Displaying dead humans… why would that be wrong? Happens all the time, millions and millions of medical students get to see bodies for educational purposes all the time.
i am sure that when this cat was alive, it was treated with the utmost respect. Making the jump from living to dead, from sentient to non-sentient, from the seat of the soul to an empty vessel — is very big for a lot of people, the copter-builder included.
So animals have souls now? When did that happen?
when someone loved it, of course.
What, like displaying a mummified head in a museum? Or is it OK because he was a serial killer?
Meh, I was trained in taxidermy at the museum I worked and volunteered at as a teen, we also had live animals on premise and worked alone and with other agencies trying to breed endangered species (snakes) and despite being a museum took in a number of wild animals brought to us by the public and properly referred domesticated animals.
We prepared and mounted study skins for classes, posed “lifelike” examples for display, defleshed the skeletal systems and re-articulated them in the same fashion, had all kinds of fun. Any and all species as long as it was dead. The nearby zoo sent us stuff, we had chest freezers of carcasses in waiting. More spider monkeys than you can shake a stick at, not sure what happened to cause that though.
Despite being completely inured to the sight and feel (but never the smell, they all got their own smells) of dead flesh and bone, not me or anyone I worked with were anything but naturalists working to further our own knowledge and help others along the way. All the while working to protect the natural kingdom and order without cruelty.
Even if occasionally something was mounted in a humorous way, or someone held up something partially de-fleshed and had a talk with it, or maybe you found something in the pocket of your lab coat.
Just saying, the cat is not evidence of barbarism or inhumanity or disrespect so long as it died naturally or of unforeseen misfortune.
In this case, it’s not “just an animal” but it is “just an object”.
That said I think it’s clear I find the reverence given the human form a completely separate thing and thereby can’t see the imagined analogy.
edit- not criticizing your reverence for animals, just your conclusion about the artist or whatever that made the copter.
I did something similar as a lab assistant for my high school biology teacher – he would bring in road kill of various species, boil’em down to the bones and then get the students to help reassemble them. My first assignment was to put the teeth back into a cat skull. I worked very hard on it, and Mr. Dunton told me I’d done a very good job except for one little thing — they were all put in backwards! FYI a cat’s tooth looks almost the same whichever end you are looking at…
There have been many people who have had their pets skinned, stuffed and mounted after death. Unusual, but I don’t see it as disrespectful. I’d like my own body to be of some use to someone after my death, and if that use brings comfort to those left behind that’s a good thing.
My reaction to this is about the same. Unusual to the point of weird, but not really very different.
People deal with loss in different ways.
as a cat lover, and a person who avoids hurting even the tiniest of creatures, i think what bothers me about this is that the pose itself is not one a living cat can physically do. if he was in a natural, mid-air bound posture, it would look less wrong to me. but the spread-eagle thing is just… unsettling.
Yeah. It’s definitely very weird looking.
I think they had to make it fit with the existing infrastructure of the helicopter model.
as a cat lover, and a person who would prefer not to hurt even the tiniest of creatures, I also find it slightly bothersome. But I mightn’t get along with a cat that had an oversized sense of its own dignity and didn’t think that this sort of après-vie expressionism was a way cool thing to end up as. That’d be my kind of cat.
Reportedly, the epedemiological studies of cats that have fallen from apartment windows and the like suggests that a cat first rotates to legs down, then (if there is time) adopts a skydiver-like pose to reduce rate of fall and land as flat as possible (spreading the force over more surface area and thus reducing damage), and then (if there is time) relaxes so things are likely to stretch rather than break. This appears to be the explanation for why cats who fall from great heights actually have better survival statistics than cats that fall from intermediate heights.
I agree that this pose is unnatural, but I’m willing to accept it as metaphor for that sequence. as well as forced by the quad-copter design. I’m also willing to call this no more unnatural a pose than the various taxidermy mounts showing animals posed as if they were humans.
It isn’t a cat any more. It has become an anthropomorphic/cartoon cat. Given that cats often seem to be operating on cartoon physics rather than that which the rest of us use, and that they often seem to suggest that they can do more than we think when we’re not looking, that makes sense to me.
I’ve got a set of small felinoid statuettes which are quite realistically skinned in dyed rabbit fur. Is turning rabbit into cat really that much less weird than turning cat into flying-cat?
Americans (other than folks who work on farms and have been forced to see it) seem to have trouble with the concept that a single species may be a pet, a work animal, a lab animal, or a food/leather/fur animal… and that a single individual may fall into several of these categories at once, or at different points in its existence. That’s been true since we first domesticated them (or they us).
Cope. If you need help, I’ll lend you a coping saw.
The cat looks a lot like my cat which is probably why I hate it. And also the whole ‘Look, everybody. I’m clever. I made a cat copter’ thing.
At first I was horrified. I wouldn’t want to do this to my cats. But then – would I want someone to do this to me, if I were to die? A resounding YES. So I’m ok with enjoying this picture.
I’m updating my will now.
Make sure it stipulates that the only aesthetic taxidermy performed will be the installation of a permanent rictal grin – organs must remain intact. Electricity will be generated by collecting methane through carefully-installed tubing, which will power the rotors and allow you to hover for days. As birds peck and gnash and the sun’s rays break apart the flesh, entrails rain down upon the living to remind them of their own mortality. Your skeleton eventually crashes into a schoolyard or something.
Sky burial 2.0!
Me too. I’m down for Heli-burial.
Yeah, for me, I regret having an enemy or two but there it is.
If I die first I would like to be made into a missile or rocket or what and fired at my enemy if possible. I mean, why not? (excepting laws and shit)
when i saw this on dutch television, i was thinking, this is made for the internet.
LOOK UPON ME
No more ridiculous than keeping boxes, and boxes, and boxes, and boxes, and boxes of dead bodies around. And don’t get me started on golf courses! I tell ya, golf courses and cemeteries are the biggest wastes of prime real estate.
Subdivisions stretching to the horizon are worse by a long shot.
Wait, isn’t that what he was describing?
Cemeteries are at least public and serve a similar use as parks. Some are even well-designed landscape architecture and some of the mausoleums can be quite nice.
Golf courses require membership fees or greens fees just to walk around and absorb massive amounts of resources centering around lawn care (mowers, watering, fertilizers, it goes on). So I think you’re only half right. But it’s a big half.
Economically speaking, cemeteries and golf courses are both a colossal waste of prime real estate. They both consume massive quantities of land, and yet no property tax is owed on that land in most states as they’ve been exempted from such obligations. Further, they cannot be utilized for productive capacity of any kind, employ a minimal amount of labor proportional to the land area required, generate a minimal amount of revenue proportional to the land area required, and often require an immense amount of resources to maintain (verdant landscapes don’t come at a small cost, especially when next to none of the plant life grows naturally in the region). They may look nice, but they truly are a massive waste of resources, especially when they’re located in areas with concentrated populations and scarce quantities of land, which so many of them are. Not to say that I don’t think they should exist, of course, but facts are facts, and must be acknowledged. If society wants these types of things, it must be prepared to pay certain costs for them.
Have you considered a move to glamorous, fast-paced Trantor?
I hear this place is restricted, Wang, so don’t tell ‘em you’re Jewish, okay!?
Yeah, someday we gotta combine the cemeteries and the golf courses.
It would make cemeteries happier and golf an exciting game of Bing Bang Ricochet Lookout!
My mausoleum will be a post-modern windmill obstacle.
http://tubedubber.com/#-HnwhGgsgXc:QH2-TGUlwu4:0:100:0:0:1 is probably a better version of this.
I want a frickin laser beam on its head!
Since we’re all weighing in with what IS ACCEPTABLE and IS NOT ACCEPTABLE (and my personal favorite, what IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO REGARD AS UNACCEPTABLE), here’s my list.
• loving your cat
• mourning your dead cat
• loving RC helicopters
• amateur mechano-taxidermy
• private aerodynamic experiments
• taking to the streets to rub your dead cat’s corpse in the faces of the normies and squares
As usual, if you disagree you’re worse than Hitler and kinda dumb. You are welcome.
I find lists unacceptable. My delicate sensibilities, how you’ve hurt them so!
I don’t think anyone is rubbing their faces in it. It’s just a thing. And most of us (who eat or use animal products) should have a walk through the nearest chicken processing factory before getting too righteous about this particular example of charismatic fauna. it isn’t just an animal, it is just a corpse. Worse things could happen.
It really does call for Ride of the Valkyries though.
I think it’s awesome. My first reaction when hearing about this was to imagine a large scale art exhibit with a choreographed formation of flying quad cowcopters. Po-Mo that!
When I first saw this story, I was 100% okay with it. The artist explained that he did it more or less as a tribute to his cat, and that seemed honest enough a reason.
Then another story mentioned that the artist was making the “art piece” available for sale. (Asking price: $12,000, or some such.) Then I had a problem with it. It took something that was “Hey, it’s my beloved cat, he can now strike from above” and turned it into “But, hey, throw me some cash and you can amuse yourself with something that I no longer have any emotional attachment to”.
I really don’t have problem with people doing things like this if it keeps them emotionally attached to a creature they loved, be it taxidermy or whatever. (I wouldn’t do it myself, though – my past pets have resting places, and fond places in my memory.) But to do it for money and attention? Bah.
What if the artist uses the money to get himself more cats, which he loves and takes excellent care of ? And also make a hefty donation to his local “No-Kill” animal shelter ?
I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all – or if the money went to any kind of charity that the artist felt strongly about. But that wasn’t the way the figure was presented.
Having said that, it still feels weird for someone to let someone else take possession of the corpse of their personal pet.
It’s a really weird/fascinating moral debate. If he’d used a deceased stray, I would have less of a problem with him selling it or having someone else possess it. But then the whole project would feel more unseemly than it does now.
It could go to beer and hookers then, if the artist considered the act of creating a tribute and assigned little to no reverence to the dead flesh and bone. Correct?
That’s really the opposite of what I was trying to say.
If it’s his personal pet and he wants to sell it to benefit a good cause, okay to sell. If he wants to sell it for hookers and beer, then he clearly had no emotional attachment to the animal, not okay to sell.
If it’s a stray and he wants to sell it, okay to sell, but the whole concept becomes a bit disgusting.
I don’t personally have a problem with taxidermy. I would never do it, nor would I ever want to own one. (Especially after owning a rabbit’s foot when I was a kid and seeing how it looked after it the fur started coming off. I didn’t realize until then that it was a real rabbit’s foot.) I would personally prefer that animals not be made “permanent” (except in certain very specific science-related settings, such as the last of a particular species). But if someone wants to taxidermy their beloved pet, I don’t have a problem with that, even if it seems a bit creepy to me.
I mainly take exception to someone taxidermying their personal pet and then selling it for cash. There’s a certain lack of humanity there.
nah mon, the artist can ascribe the act of creating the piece as tributary to his love for the pet they cherished as easily as they can attribute respect for the corpse as tributary to his love for teh pet they cherished.
It can’t be the opposite for it is the same.
Thereby, if the tributary in the mind of the artist is teh act of creating, not uncommon among creators or artists, then the sale of the creation in no way violates the tenet of respecting what you cherish, thereby can the money be spent on hookers and blow.
It is impossible for you to determine without asking/knowing, thereby it is impossible for you to pass a valid judgement on either the act of creating or the sale of the creation or the use of the benefit from said sale.
If humanity were only done one way you might have a point, but it isn’t, never has been and can vary from individual even within an established cultural norm.
It’s unbelievably funny, no doubt about that. But I like my pets and wouldn’t transform them into a sideshow. Or a side-to-side show. No issue with a grouper-copter or a Norway rat-copter. Personal taste, I guess.
“Or a side-to-side show. ”
This made me spray cheezburger out of my nose. Thank you.
That has got to hurt people who have cats. And anyone young or old who does not realize the cat is not alive. It also hits the uncanny valley and so I judge it an all around antihuman work. Minus 1000 karma for the author and -100 for anyone who enjoys it. Yuck! Get that outta my pixels!
I have a cat. I used to have cats, plural, but last week I had to put my 19 year old tabby cat down because his body was giving out on him (organ failure) and he was in such terrible, terrible pain I couldn’t bear to extend it even for a few more minutes.
But this photo? Doesn’t hurt me. It actually made me smile, but I can’t quite explain it. And I’m pretty sure it’s unlikely anyone will think the cat is alive. It doesn’t really look like a cat, which is probably why it is not setting the uncanny valley off for me.
Aaaaaand we have a winner in the condescension and projection sweepstakes.
And honorary “concern troll” accolades. ;)
I have two cats; have had others in the past; think of myself in feline terms. It surprises me but does not bother me.
There is nothing “antihuman” about the uncanny valley. It’s just an observation about how we process things. (And I disagree that this hits that point.)
How much karma are you deducting from yourself for asserting that others react as you do, rather than asking?
“El gato volador” (Literally “The flying cat”) was a one of the first examples of Reggaeton I ever heard.
Information about the band:http://largeup.okayplayer.com/2012/02/16/throwback-thursdays-el-chombos-el-gato-volador/
The down side to all this, Orville will not longer be able to sneak up on you.
Seriously people THIS is what the internet was made for!
And now it is what the internet is made of.
I smell a new KickStarter campaign!
what. the fuck.
For me it’s the frisson of two creepinesses: the odd, uncanny stare of the dead cat, added to my terror of all things flying-droney. The two creeps are so different, yet fused into one uber-creepy objecty-thingy-being-whatsit. We are the cat, wideeyed, staring, splayed in an unnatural position: wafting, like Benjamin’s Angel of History, we no not where, on winds of change that we are powerless to resist.
Nice job, that.
As long as the cat-thing is only a picture on my screen, I find it amusing. If I were walking around in public and this things was hovering anywhere near me, I would take offense. That it exists is not offensive, but using it to freak out the mundanes, that would be. Kind of like a tv-b-gone, handy when it is, and obnoxious when used badly.
Picture an alien lifeform kitting out his pet human’s corpse like this. That’s it. Just picture it. Awesome!
As noted above, some of us would consider art an entirely reasonable application of something we’re no longer using.
I suppose the “is this appropriate use” thread calls for a chorus of Tie Me Kangaroo Down:
“Tan me hide when I’m dead, Fred;
Tan me hide when I’m dead.”
So we tanned his hide when he died, Clyde
And that’s it, hung on the shed.”
(And, yeah, I think the disrespectful thing would be if this was deliberately used in inappropriate contexts to Freak The Mundanes.)
Let me pose a thought experiment: Would this squick you if it was just artful use of fake fur?
No doubt. There are so many dead animal parts and juices around the cities we live in every day and no one pays them any heed because they have (mostly) been beheaded. Leather, meat, and bone don’t grow on trees.
No VGA port, no thanks. Who’s going to fly a Catcopter with a dongle?
No, that’s not creepy at all. …really, it’s not.
If it’s not an animal anymore, then why do people care what dead people think? If you did this with a person it’d be a crime of abusing a corpse, but a human corpse is just as insensate and cares exactly as much as this “cat”. It’s just a bunch of molecules that don’t do anything any more.
Why do you assume we care what dead people think?
After I’m done with the meat, I have a few preferred uses I’d like to see it put to, mostly transplant or educational… but outside of that, my corpse will just be an inconvenient thing to dispose of. If people want to seek my spirit, I can guarantee it won’t be hanging around wherever the residue winds up.
If it does matter to someone, they have a right to leave appropriate directives. For a pet… well, we are continuously making decisions for our pets; this is another one.
If it matters to you, fine; that’s legitimate. If this particular project bothers you, that’s legitimate too. What isn’t legitimate is to assume that yours is the only valid reaction.
how would u feel if that was a dead human instead? its a horrible thing to do to any being even dead… it really doesn’t matter how the cat died, it’s sad to see this, we must have more respect for other animals
See my reply to technosean. If someone approached me and asked me whether I’d approve the use of my skin for an art exhibit after I died, and I liked the project — and there wasn’t a better use for that tissue — I’d have no objection. If it was done to someone without asking them, that’s a somewhat different matter, mostly (for me) because it could bother their relatives.
I don’t see this as disrespectful. You’re certainly entitled to feel otherwise.
Go! Go, Gadget catcopter!
Mail (will not be published) (required)