"Take the iPads Off the Tortoises:" Petition Stokes Controversy Over Museum Exhibit
"Moving Ghost Town Tortoises," a new exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum, hasn't even launched yet. It's slated to debut on Saturday amid the unveiling of a new building at the facility. But it's making national and international headlines thanks to a petition claiming animal abuse as a result of the presentation's most unique aspect: iPads strapped to the backs of three African tortoises. Photos, details and more below.
Photo by Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com A cropped version of an exhibit-promoting photo made available by the Aspen Art Museum.
The Change.org petition, posted by Lisbeth Olsen, features the title "Take the iPads Off the Tortoises." Here's a screen capture of the main image....
Dear Aspen Art Museum --The petition had a goal of 1,000 signatures. At this writing, it's collected more than 1,700, boosted no doubt by enormous media interest in the dust-up. A Denver Post piece quickly led to a slew of other press reports from outlets as varied as Time and The Australian.
We, the undersigned, request you end this animal abuse. The Tortoises that you have in your new display in the new Aspen Art Museum have had iPads attached to their shells and must endure the weight of 2 iPads on their back as they walk around in the sun showing slides of old Aspen in the name of art. Since when is animal abuse art? We must all rise and stop this now!! There is no excuse for this!
Please stop this unnecessary exploitation of animals now and do the right thing by getting these iPad of the Tortoises' backs and make sure they are given to a sanctuary where they will never be abused like this again and put pressure on the artist to vow he will never do anything like this to any other animal ever again!
The carapace (The carapace is the dorsal (back) convex part of the shell structure of a turtle, consisting primarily of the animal's ribcage, dermal armor and scutes) is sensitive to the slightest impact. If the carapace or plastron be very gently tapped, the nearest leg is alone withdrawn, a heavier tap causing a withdrawal of its whole body. We have here, therefore, a structure which is a true sensitive surface, and like the soft skin of a frog or of a man, it is brought into relation- ship with the central nervous system. Like the soft skin of other animals it may be mapped out into areas, from which the nerve-fibres passing to the spinal cord are all especially connected with outgoing motor nerves, so that the definite reflex movements of limbs as already described may come about.
In response, the museum offered the following statement in defense of the exhibit, as penned by spokesperson Sara Fitzmaurice:
The Aspen Art Museum is a contemporary art museum that provides a platform for artists to present their artistic vision with a freedom of expression. That free expression can take many forms, and it is not the Museum's practice to censor artists. Cai Guo-Qiang's installation features three African Sulcata Tortoises which were rescued from a breeder where they were living in an over-crowded enclosure and being over bred. The three are being closely monitored, cared for, checked by a local veterinarian at regular intervals, and are being exhibited in consultation with the Turtle Conservancy. Following the end of the exhibition on October 5, the tortoises will find new homes in conservation and educational facilities selected in collaboration with the Turtle Conservancy.
|The Aspen Art Museum as seen in a profile pic on the organization's Facebook page.|
The Aspen Art Museum and this so-called-artist should be ashamed of themselves and should be boycotted!!! Disgusting abuse of a noble being!Continue to see the complete Aspen Art Museum post about "Moving Ghost Town Tortoises."
There are better ways to educate and raise awareness for the tortoises...I fully doubt this was the original intent anyways. It's absurd and demeaning to the animal.
Guiltless explanation, but I say, "So what?" It sends a visual message which is destructive towards tortoises. It's a little like sawing a person in half: it's a trick, sure, but post enough videos, someone will actually it.
SHUT IT DOWN ! YOUR EXCUSES ARE SHODDY AND ANIMALS ARE NOT YOURS TO DECORATE THEIR SENSITIVE SHELLS WITH A HARNESS TO WEAR AN IPAD FOR ENTERTAINMENT! Everyone tweet your displeasure to @tim_cook CEO of Apple that you do not want his products used in this #animalabuse manner!