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Brody & Paetau: DogCarpets – Das Interview

Normalerweise habe ich vielleicht so zwischen 0 und 2 Kommentare zu einem einzelnen Post: Aber der Beitrag ĂĽber das Projekt “DogCarpets” von Brody & Pateau ging durch die Decke. Und zwar so richtig: Bis heute gab es dort insgesamt 51 Kommentare – auf deutsch, englisch und spanisch. Unnötig zu erwähnen, dass die Kommentare von “Sick bastards” ĂĽber “Fucking Disgusting” bis zu “awesome and provoking” oder “Wow, that’s cool” alles beinhalteten. Jetzt gibt´s endlich ein Interview von dem KĂĽnstlerduo Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau zu ihrer Arbeit “DogCarpets – A series of taxidermised dogs (and a cat)”, 2007 – und bevor es wieder Dutzende Beschimpfungen hagelt: bitte erst lesen, dann denken, dann kommentieren!

What is this project about?

Ondrej: The dog carpets are essentially about society’s hypocrisy. It questions the special status that dogs and cats have in our, western society. Although we can see that in China, despite the local culture and cuisine, the pet culture is on its rise as well. The Bolivian experience was about hypocrisy as well, but it involved on a larger and direct scale mechanisms and structures within the society.

Kristofer: It’s about the tradition of producing carpets with wild animals as a hunting fetish. But in this case we were using an inappropriate animal, a pet – and like this we wanted to question the values behind this tradition. Ondrej was speaking to me about this idea already before the Bolivia show, but when I got the opportunity to participate in that show I thought it would be interesting to realize the dog carpets there with Ondrej, mainly for three reasons: more adventure, lower production costs and the problem of street dogs in South America (in contrast to the beloved inhouse pet in North America and in most European countries).

How did you proceed to realize the work and how important was the local context for realizing the work?

Ondrej: The context is always important. In fact in comparison to most countries in Europe, in Bolivia (La Paz) there is a great concentration of street dogs. We were informed then, that there is a municipal company called Zoonosis which is in charge of hunting street dogs and dealing with animals within the city of La Paz. They catch about 100 dogs a week and execute them every friday noon. We were supposed to prepare a project that would take place in a city Museum called Museo Tambo Quirquincho. The communication with Zoonosis was relatively simple, since both institutions were run by the city. We requested to obtain 10 sacrificed dogs for our “installation”. This seemed to be a perfect paradox. A hunting carpet from a dog that is being hunted by the society.

Kristofer: The local context was striking: when we went out in the center of the city at night there were dogs all over the streets eating garbage. We discovered that there is a whole municipal organisation dealing with the problem of street dogs in La Paz. The municipal service Zoonosis is hunting for street dogs during night time and collecting the dogs in a kind of dog prison and then killing them, about 100 dogs every week. We went to visit Zoonosis and talked to them about our project and we also explained our project to the director of the Museo Tambo Quirquincho. She wrote a recommendation letter for us and with this letter we went to Zoonosis again and met with the director. He signed and gave us a small post-it to authorise us to get 10 killed dogs the following week.

Tell us about the killing. Did you assist to it and if yes, how did you feel and what did you think about at that moment?

Ondrej: The killing was a terrible experience. We arrived to Zoonosis maybe one hour before they began with the execution. About half an hour before they started with the execution, the dogs were quite restless, nervous, barking a lot as if this was their last chance to show that they’re alive. When they started killing them the whole cage was in complete silence. I’m sure that the dogs were completely aware what was going on…

Kristofer: Yes we assisted to the killing, which took place around one o’clock in the afternoon. The gates were closed so nobody could see what happened from the outside. The place became completely calm and the dogs stopped barking. I was nervous. I had taken my digital camera because I wanted to record something of this moment – which was of course forbidden – and at the same time it was absolutely not the moment to make photographs… So I nervously pushed the button a couple of times without really looking. Hiding away with the camera from the 5 or 6 guys running around making injections to the dogs with big plastic bottles filled with poison. All dogs pissed and shitted after they got the injection. They died in about 30 seconds and were left there lying in their own excrements. I felt miserable.

What happened after the killing?

Ondrej: After the execution Zoonosis offered us a transport of the cadavers to the taxidermist….or sort of taxidermist…we did some research before (there is no training or career of taxidermy in La Paz) and seemingly the only person who could help us to realize the taxidermy was working in the Museum of Natural history… as a guard. He was also responsible for most taxidermy work within the Museum. The quality of the exhibits were quite terrible but we didn’t have any other choice.

Kristofer: We were asked to chose “our” 10 dogs which were put aside for us and put into plastic bags. The act of picking 10 freshly killed dogs out of maybe 80 killed that day was also like straight out of a nightmare, but I was surprised and terrified to see how easily I started looking at the dead bodies just as aesthetic objects, trying to make the best choice. Zoonosis then gave us a ride with the dead dogs to the Museum of Natural History, where we had found the only taxidermists of La Paz: the janitor of the museum and his friend the night-guard who practice taxidermy as a self-taught hobby (doing the taxidermy for the collections of the Museum of Natural History of La Paz as well). The taxidermy that those two fellows did was horrible. You could still feel and see the meat and the bones in the legs and the dogs were stinking like hell…

How did you display the work in the Museo Tambo Quirquincho?

Ondrej: The carpets were not ready for the opening. They were still wet and extremely stinking. We decided to hang the dog carpets in the patio of the museum in a way like you hang clothes to dry. The idea was that the dogs would be drying during the time of the show. Visually it was certainly a freak show.

Kristofer: We could not show the work as planned since the dogs were not dry yet. So we wanted to just put them up to dry outside, in the courtyard of the museum. This was a terrible “installation”. But since the whole show was all about “the process”, we and the curators accepted this display. The museum director didn’t like it though, so the next day we had to put them into a smaller courtyard where the public could not see them. But since the show was about the process, the museum was open for visitors before the opening as well and the display of the hanging dogs was seen by a couple of persons on that one day when we first hang them up to dry in the courtyard of the museum…

You decided to realize the Dogcarpets in Europe after the Bolivian experience. What do you think of this transition?

Ondrej: Well, actually I tried to realize the project in Prague shortly before coming to Bolivia. The idea of the carpets was already about one year old. The carpet itself is an extremely powerful image, which is inevitably confronting the viewer. Hypocrisy is still the main aspect of the work, even though it confronts you on a more personal level. The dogs are obviously pets and not street dogs, which is quite important, since I mentioned the special position pets like dogs and cats occupy within our society. People sometimes develop a closer relationship with their pets than with their own family or friends. Another striking difference is the realization of the taxidermy. I wanted the carpets resembling a bear or a tiger or other hunting carpets which are formally realized very professionally. The dogs and cats were obtained from a pet hospital, where they died mostly from natural causes and the owners didn’t want to take care of the dead bodies…

Kristofer: After Bolivia I went directly to Rio de Janeiro for a residency of 2 months and Ondrej went back to Prague. As we were about to participate together in the Prague Biennale only 2 months later, we decided that we would like to show the Dog Carpets in the Biennale, so Ondrej concentrated on getting the dogs produced in Prague while I was working with rats in Brasil. The Prague dogs came from a hospital where the dogs had died and nobody had wanted to take care of the corpses. They are real pets that were abandoned after death – not street dogs. So the difference is quite big to the bolivian dogs. Also the context is completely different. I was more interested and more involved in the crazy Bolivian adventure, but I think the Dog Carpets – as they turned out finally – are very well made and very disturbing objects.


9 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. anja,

    There are much better ways showing the world it’s illness. But beeing an artist of course is an excusion for every sick shit to produce. Why don’t you make carpets of dead and murdered people in poor or suppressed countries too? You could show the whole world that they did not care about those victims of war or hunger! Isn’t that a really great chance for such brave and aesthetic guys like you to show everybody how big your spirit really is?

  2. mimi,

    ich finde es einfach nur ekelhaft und überflüßig. gib´s irgentwein grund für so´n scheiße?
    man muss so neu und inovativ sein, da kann man ja gleich kleine babyleichen als werbeträger an hängen in die ubahn oder so.

  3. suse,

    ich finde es heftig, dass es wirklich leute gibt, die es schaffen sich selber mit so ner barbarei eine gesellschaftskritik vorzugakeln….

  4. Lilu,

    Ob die Tiere nun Tiertötungsstationen oder Tierkliniken stammen.. es ist einfach völlig respektloses Verhalten den toten Tieren gegenĂĽber! Ich find sowas krank und diese “KĂĽnstler” (welche in meinen Augen keine sind) sind nicht besser als diese Bastarde in den Tiertötungsstationen!! Es sollte mal lieber dafĂĽr gesorgt werden das diese Tiere irgendwie die Chance erhalten zu ĂĽberleben, aber nein es muss ja wieder provokant bis zum abwinken sein. Wer so etwas gut heiĂźen kann ist in meinen Augen ein Minderwertiger ScheiĂźhaufen!

  5. anon,

    Where can I buy some of these dog mats?

    I’m serious.

  6. Thanxs anja for saying in that way, I agree with you, the status of art is really a way for showing how sick is the autor and produce every shit that his twisted freaked mind want to produce, stupids moorons, (hijos de puta, mejor) I’ll like to make a carpet of those guys too.

  7. Chiara,

    Sorry for discovering this thing so late. It is true that this action catches the society hipocrisy but it’s even more true that the omnivores society is based on species and some species which are closer to ours like pets deserve a different treatment from others. it’s a stupid idea thinking that they are same for the meateaters. that’s how the western society is built and this work doesn’t make any change or reflection on it. i am a super vegetarian and animalist and for me there is no difference between a cow and a cat, but i respect the fact that in our society some other animals are more lucky than others, as well as men are more lucky than dogs. u simply turn the lucky ones in unlucky ones.. so what kind of reflection of hipocrisy is this, if not another easy arty project to catch scandal reviews on forgotten magazines?

    besides this, it’s not true that some pets were left to an hospital from the ‘evil’ owners who didn’t care of their bodies. simply these pet hospitals have the duty of burning ther body after natural death (without necessarily the owner’s presence) which is commonly the practice on every pet. i wonder if the owner were informed of your great idea to make them live forever and how a serous doctor can be responsible of its trade.

    what about the shelter were u went first? i think is less horrible that these overcrowded dogs shelter practice poison injection (which is at least a not painful death) with doctors, than two kids expecting to pantomime damien hirst turning dead animals into carpets.

    that’s it, i criticize the fact that u even pretend to criticize a society without the necessary elements that a work about death should require.

  8. Tereza,

    This is to much, really.

  9. Robert Russell,


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