German Students Toy With Slaughter in the Name of Art
Two students in Germany have provoked outrage by threatening to slaughter a sheep in the name of art. In their website the pair ask "should this sheep be killed?", and maintain a macabre countdown to the date of the possible execution.
Two students in Germany have provoked outrage by threatening to slaughter a sheep in the name of art. “Ein Experiment der Künstler Iman Rezai und Rouven Materne” (’an experiment of the artists Iman Rezai and Rouven Materne’) asks the question “should this sheep be killed?”, and maintains a macabre countdown to the date of the possible execution.
The first of two videos released by the pair, shows the painstaking construction of their guillotine which is painted in a gaudy array of bright neon colors. They talk of spending “too long” over bringing it to fruition, while the film shows an almost obsessive attention to every detail in polishing the blade and crafting the wooden frame. Finally, the condemned sheep is brought in and is menacingly presented to the apparatus as the heavy blade is hoisted to the top of the frame.
At the time of writing, the balance of opinion lies in favor of sparing the animal, but the two men have said they are duty bound to slay the lamb if ’democratic’ opinion swings in the opposite direction. This, despite facing prosecution under German laws preventing the unnecessary killing of animals.
The proposition has invoked a wave of revulsion, with several people commenting that only vegetarians have the right to decry this. This is clearly preposterous; there is no equivalence between sanctioning the killing of livestock for food and the senseless murder of an animal as some sideshow stunt parading under the banner of ’art’. By that score, it would seem that anything goes if the end is art.
It is also highly objectionable to justify murder as a ’duty’ on the basis of a VolksWahl (people’s choice). Majorities can be wrong. Need we be reminded of the ghastly but logical conclusion of such a callous, mechanical and casual disregard for life?
Rezai and Materne have posted a second video which betrays an almost clinical fetishism and alludes to another form of gratification.
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