A German court has banned an artist who planned to strangle two puppies with cable ties on stage† from performing. The artist (who has not been identified) had planned to perform a piece entitled “Death as Metamorphosis” on April 27, in order to (he says) highlight the killing of Alaskan sled dogs and Spanish huntings dogs after they are no longer able to work. He said he would also offer a short “mediation” along with funeral procession music and a gong; he has claimed that his piece was based on traditional Thai art forms.
“Shocking” seems too understated a word to describe the artist’s plans. Certainly there seem other ways that he could make his point, without harming — without killing — more dogs.
The artist had argued that Germany’s constitution “unconditionally guarantees artistic freedom.” But citing animal protection laws that forbid harming them in a show, a Berlin administrative court stopped the artist from his performance.
The Local describes another equally disturbing project that involves killing animals in the name of art. Two students at Berlin’s University of the Arts (UdK), Iman Rezai and Rouven Materne, say they will guillotine a sheep on camera, or will not, based on an online vote. They have received 190,000 “No” votes and 120,000 “Yes” votes in six days.
The point of the project, says Materne, is to foment a discussion about “humanity and democracy.” The guillotine, the creation of the French Revolution, was selected because it “represents a society that wants to give its cruelties the appearance of humanity.” Rezai and Materne have said that they also want to show how the “anonymity of the internet lures the perversity out of some people.”
Despite the outcry over their project, Rezai and Materne will announce the results in mid-May.
While such ideas about the internet and human behavior and morality are well to highlight, the violent means by which Rezai and Materne seek to make their point is not so much a commentary about the ethical issues they highlight, but simply promises more violence.
The answer to cruelty is not more of the same and certainly not on those — sled and hunting dogs who have been retired from their work — who have already suffered enough.
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Photo by Hades Bane