Bart Jansen is not your commonplace artist. This Dutch artist shot to fame three years ago with his singular work of art, the cat drone, which was made using… you guessed it right – Bart’s dead cat. Though his dead cat drone failed to land Bart among the haut monde of the art world, or help him launch a career as an installation (performance?) artist, it surely made him an overnight internet sensation.
The fact that the creation of such an unusual drone had pushed Bart into Internet super-stardom was not very surprising either, when you consider internet’s affinity to cats. It all started when Bart’s cat Orville got hit by a car in 2012, according to TheJournal.ie. Jansen was so attached to his cat that he did not want to bury his feline. So what did he do? He drew inspiration from his cat, or rather from his cat’s namesake – Orville Wright – one of the Wright Brothers, and the inventor of heavier-than-air flight.
Bart Jansen decided that instead of burying his cat in earth, it would be a better idea to gut Orville, preserve him, and then turn his cat into a custom quadcopter. Though an apparently absurd idea at the time, it inspired Bart immediately, and he got to work. The result was a staggering and an unusual remote-controlled cat drone, which would go on to take the internet by storm in the days to follow.
To create the cat drone, which had internet raving from Daily Mail to Forbes, Bart took the help of his long-time friend and engineer, Arjen Beltman, who provided the technical expertise Jansen needed to make his dead cat fly. Speaking about the difficulties the duo faced while creating the cat drone, Jansen confessed to Wired that getting the shape right was the biggest hurdle.
“Getting the shape done was the most difficult part. I looked at hundreds of pictures of live ostriches, dead ones, skinned ones to try and figure out what its body looked like. I had to then fit the skin around it and found that in some places I had too much foam and in others not enough. The skin then got a bit mildewy and I had to take it back to the taxidermist to treat it.”
But while some people saw the humor in it, according to the Los Angeles Times, the unconventional drone also went on to draw flak and “global outrage” after footage of it went viral. Feline lovers all over the world were repulsed, calling Bart everything from a “morbid freak” to a cheap sensationalist to “the worst person in the country”, who had gone to indescribable lengths to draw attention to his bizarre creations. Bart was hoping to disguise perversion under the pretext of art, critics claimed.
But Jansen remained unmoved even after the criticisms came pouring thick and fast. According to Slate, Jansen conceded that all he ever wanted to was give his precious pet, Orville, another lease of life.
“When Orville was killed by a car, I decided to pay tribute to his lost life by giving him a new one.”
And now Bart Jansen is at it again. According to Metro, the Dutch artist is looking at the possibilities of creating a “cow helicopter”, something Bart confesses has been on his mind for a long time. However, this time Bart and his friend do not want to create a remote-controlled drone, but a one-man flight in the shape of a cow. According to Business Insider, his plans to use a cow’s exterior are not definite, though, and Bart could be tempted to using other animals for his weird creation.
“A cow could fit a person. So a cow is one of the options. That means we’d be using a cow indeed. Or any other animal we can lay our hands on that fits a person, but again, it’s in a very early state of development, all still in our minds.”
You can get a glimpse of Bart’s fully functional dead cat drone here.
What do you think of Bart Jansen’s unusual creations? Do you think he should continue making drones out of dead animals after his cat drone received such criticism? Sound off in the comment section below.