Daniel is an artist in residence at the VCA, who spoke to us about his work recently for our Centre for Ideas class. He had lots of interesting things to show, in particular I loved the photographs of a cat he had taken while hiking with friends (which are available on the artist’s website, along with documentation of his other work).
“On December 31 I walked with three friends up a hill in Tuhringen, near Ilmenau. We found a dead cat lying on its back. Her position seemed as if death caught her by surprise in a moment of joy and play. In the night, we lightened firecrackers. It started snowing. Next day, January 1, we decided to walk up the hill again.”
I found these pictures to be very moving, if somewhat confronting. I showed these photos to M, who found them to be offensive in an exploitative Damien Hirst-esque way, which I understand. It’s a strange thing for an artist to encounter something sad and beautiful, a small observation in the context of the wider world, but the momentous and final events in the existence of this particular cat, and then exhibit this in a way that doesn’t necessarily show full respect to this being. But how do we show this respect, and why? The cat is dead, after all.