One of the harshest realities that we have to face sooner or later is the fact that life ends, and our pets are no exception. Those furry bundles of joy that make our lives so much sweeter and provide us with that specific warmth, love and loyalty that only a pet can provide, will not live forever, and sooner or later they will have to pass. Along with their passing comes grief and we all deal with the grieving process in different ways.
Some, like Dutch artist Bart Jensen, tend to use their more creative sides to deal with their loss. In this case, the artist chose to have his deceased cat stuffed by a taxidermist and then converted into a flying quadrocopter drone or, as we know it by now the cat drone.
Little did he, or anyone for that matter, know that the project would generate so much interest and attract so much attention.
How the cat copter came to be
Before we delve deeper into this subject, we must first understand that the cat did not have your average owner. Bart Jensen, a renowned and respected Dutch artist, has always been interested and rather passionate about flying and aeronautics in general. In some cases, some of the inspiration for his works came from aviation itself.
This passion influenced his life significantly, so much so that he named his cat “Orville” after the famous American aviator Orville Wright. The cat was playful, loving and affectionate, until one day when tragedy struck (Orville was hit by a car and killed a few years ago). However, the young artist did not want to part with his pet so easily.
After the pet was declared dead, the artist decided to have his pet stuffed, which is not something that uncommon. There are many pet owners who choose not to part with their beloved pets after death and instead have them stuffed and displayed around the house like real living pets.
This practice is generally frowned upon by more conservative animal lovers; however, the young Dutch artist took it a few steps further by turning his stuffed cat into a quadrocopter drone.
How was the drone made?
The cat has been stuffed in a horizontal position, with the limbs positioned at the same angles as the drone propeller arms. Also, the abdomen was shaped in such a way that it would accommodate the body of the drone. An opening was cut into the abdomen and the ends of the limbs, which allowed for the drone to be disassembled, were slided into position inside the body of the cat and reassembled with ease.
The arms of the drone are concealed by the limbs of the cat, with only the propellers sticking out of its paws. The body is concealed by the abdomen of the cat, with the opening still present, providing access to the body and battery of the drone.
After the assembly process was completed, and a lot of tinkering and calibration, the Orvillecopter took off for the first time and flew a stable and balanced flight, right onto the internet and social media.
How the public responded to the dead cat drone?
It is very rare that we find something that is able to split people almost equally down the middle when it comes to personal views and opinions. The Orvillecopter is one such thing because it has the ability to invoke feelings of interest and admiration in some, as well as disgust and horror in others, with next to no middle ground in between.
It is widely accepted that we can never please everyone, and that there will always be people that will disagree or be displeased with something that other people are pleased with. Which is why the public reaction to the flying cat drone is so interesting.
On one side of the fence, are the more open-minded and understanding people and animal lovers. These people are more open to new and different things, with more liberal views in regards to animals and how their memory must be treated.
These are the people that actually defend the artist, understanding that the cat is now more or less a work of art, overcoming the divide that death imposes, making it a lot easier and better to go through the grieving process.
These people commended the creator of this drone for his actions, calling the Dutch artist a visionary, a trailblazer and so on. In their way, the artist used his views and know-how to find a way to breach the divide and isolation that death imposes, while at the same time creating something that was both cute and interesting at the same time.
On the other side of the fence you have the more conservative and determined animal lovers. These people have a very strict view in regards to animals and how they should be treated both in life and death, often regarding them as being superior to humans in a lot of ways.
These people will jump through all the hoops that are placed in front of them in order to defend animals and pets, even when they themselves, as animal lovers, are wrong.
These people wasted no time condemning the artist for his action, calling him things like “twisted”, “warped”, “demented”, and so on. In their opinion, the drone is an aberration that should not exist, and that this was a way to defile the body of the deceased cat.
Truth be told, both sides of the fence are both right and wrong at the same time. While there are very few people that are able to not take a radical stand on either side of the fence, there is still some understanding.
While the loss of his pet Orville was difficult, as is any loss, the artist decided that the time to part with his pet was not yet there. So the young Dutch artist decided to honor his pet, for the love and loyalty that Orville has shown through the years by combining his 2 main interests, art and flight, to honor and remember the cat forever.
Thus turning Orville into a flying work of art that has managed to attract a lot of attention and raise a lot of questions.
While there are quite a few videos and articles on the internet in regards to the cat helicopter in question, there is also a lot of interest surrounding the subject. So much so that the drone will be exposed and flown at yearly conventions and art shows, as well as people coming forward and expressing their desire of starting or undertaking similar projects.
The backlash is not to be ignored either as the videos and articles in question are generating negative responses. Luckily for everyone, the backlash is rather minor, without any actual and serious implications for the young artist.
Even the most conservative animal lovers have managed to understand that the reasons behind the creation of this cat drone is a respectful and loving tribute and a way to commemorate a loyal and loving companion, even though they might not agree with the finished product.
While it might be still a novelty work of art, with which we are not exactly used to down to a conceptual level, it is still something that is out there, even though it might put either a smile or a frown on your face.
The flying cat drone, or the Orvillecopter as it is officially known, is an interesting and functional work of art that the young Dutch artist Bart Jensen created using the remains of his departed pet cat Orville, in order to honor his memory and keep him in his life.
Overall, the responses to the drone is divided among everyone, however the general responses were positive ones. So much so that more people have stepped out with similar projects, as well as interest to collaborate with Bart Jensen on other projects that involve taxidermy and drones.
What we are to expect in the future is more projects that are similar to the Orvillecopter, but involving animals that are a lot bigger than a cat, and probably a lot more complex than a simple quadrocopter RC drone. There are currently plans for an ostrich style drone, and there are talks of a cow one in the distant future, however these are only talks and speculations, nothing officially confirmed as of yet.
One thing is certain though, the respect and dedication that Bart Jensen has shown for his pet cat Orville have not gone unnoticed. The drone has been named a functional work of art and is being displayed at art shows as well as flown by the artist himself at yearly conventions and shows.
This goes to show that as time moves on, more and more things that were considered either taboo or forbidden are now being turned into art, making it so that we can observe them comfortably, learn and open our minds, narrowing gaps and breaching divides that previous generations have never even conceived of breaching.