Tortoises, iPads and Cai Guo-Qiang

Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang's 'Moving Ghost Town', 2014
Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Moving Ghost Town’ 2014, commissioned by Aspen Art Museum

Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is in trouble for disrespecting the tortoise.  His new work ‘Moving Ghost Town’, commissioned as part of opening festivities for the new Aspen Art Museum, involves a troupe of live African Sulcata tortoises wandering around the museum’s new rooftop sculpture garden with ipads mounted to their backs.  The ipads display footage recorded by the creatures themselves (thanks to shell-mounted cameras) wandering through three local ghost towns, “retelling forgotten stories of the once prosperous towns from the tortoises’ perspective”, or so says the Aspen Art Museum’s website.

But local tortoise rehabilitator Lisabeth Oden is not impressed, stating “These creatures were not designed to carry 2-pound iPads”.  She’s even set up a Change.org petition to have the devices removed and has so far amassed over 400 signatures.  According to a statement released by Aspen Art Museum yesterday however, the exhibition will continue as planned.  The welfare of the tortoises Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer is being monitored by a local veterinarian in consultation with the Turtle Conservancy, an organisation dedicated to protecting endangered turtles and tortoises.

Tortoises, iPads and Cai Guo-Qiang

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