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It's 'art' -- tortoises with back-mounted iPads

iPads on tortoise backs: Art, or just plain cruelty?

Only in Aspen, Colorado -- where many of the residents have much more money than common sense -- would you find this work of "art". It's three African Spurred Tortoises -- Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer -- with iPads on their backs. A special mount holds two iPads on each tortoise's back, and the animals then wander aimlessly around the roof garden of the Aspen Art Museum displaying videos of the ghost towns of Colorado. Yep, that's art.

The "artwork" by New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang titled "Moving Ghost Town" is part of the grand opening of the US$45 million museum, and it's not without controversy. Animal rights activists have started a petition on Change.org titled "Take the iPads Off the Tortoises", arguing that the tortoises are sensitive to the weight of the iPads.

Fast Company art writer Carey Dunne apparently didn't notice that there are two iPads on each tortoise, saying in defense of the "artist" that "iPads ... don't weigh two pounds." Sure they do, when there are two of 'em stuck in a mount epoxied to the top of a tortoise. As of this morning, the Change.org petition was nearing 3,600 signatures, so apparently there are a lot of folks who think that Cai's artwork is not just stupid, but cruel as well.

You can read more about the controversial exhibit in the Fast Company post linked to in the first paragraph or read comments from Lisbeth Oden of The Turtle Conservancy who was responsible for starting the petition.

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