“My last words?” Kurt Vonnegut asks, “‘Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse.’”
Of course, Vonnegut is commenting on the machinations of humanity—an ineffable world created by us, for us and for nobody else. Vonnegut satirizes the completely unique human faculty that is reasoning, which lead us to a little doctrine called “Manifest Destiny” (that is, a uniquely American belief that the Americas were (are) ours to conquer). Well, along with conquering the Frontier (sans Flux-Capacitors and Deloreans), we also took it upon our selves to (nobly) subjugate the flora and fauna (i.e. dogs). Now, I’m not picking on America. I realize dogs were domesticated long before Columbus sailed the oceans blue in 1492 and founded the Americas. Really, if anything, this is a critique of a machina animata. However, I already talked about this concept in an earlier post (See: http://sickoftheradio.com/2010/09/art-life-unbearably-sweet), and I want to keep these posts Ziploc fresh.
I digress: what we are looking at is Christopher Golebiowski’s art. In short, it’s satire. I am usually hesitant to label pieces satire because the term is so often misused, but I think Golebiowski’s work fulfills my criteria. For one, the work evokes disparate responses: on the one hand, we laugh in delight; on the other, we retract in dread. You can call this irony. On the surface, they are cartoonish reversals of seemingly overstated roles. Below the surface, however, they are troubling parables, illustrating our treatment of animals.
Secondly, whether or not Golebiowski is an honorary member of the PETA Commandos is irrelevant. These pieces do not take a stand on any animals rights issue. The neutrality of these works is indicative of satire. They simply illustrate everyday scenarios—if the roles were reversed the illustrations would seem commonplace. They simply ask the question: is this okay?
For more uncomfortable questions, go to HERE.
By, Scott Warfe