Helicopter cat admired and reviled

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Orville the Cat may not have nine lives, but he's got at least two. His owner, Dutch artist Bart Jansen had Orville stuffed after he died and turned the animal's body into a remote-controlled helicopter.

The work of art, which he calls the Orvillecopter, has aroused a lot of interest internationally, pushing up the asking price from 12,500 to 100,000 euros.

Model aircraft 
Orville died when was run over by a car last year. After a period of mourning for his beloved pet, Jansen decided to turn him into an art object. Orville's four legs were splayed out and fitted with props. A model aircraft expert was called in to help realise the helicopterness of the cat.

The Orvillecopter was premiered at the Amsterdam KunstRAI art fair on Sunday. Predictably, it provoked a wave of reactions ranging from "charming" to "tasteless" and "scary". The Animal Rights Party (PvdD) has condemned the idea outright.

Fitting tribute 
Meanwhile, the late Orville is making headlines in the US and in Australia.

Bart Jansen says the Orvillecopter is a fitting tribute to his cat. Orville was named after US manned flight pioneer Orville Wright.