Furry Friends

The Wooster Collective talks to Neozoon about their furry installations, and what they mean for how we view animals. Neozoon's...

The Wooster Collective talks to Neozoon about their furry installations, and what they mean for how we view animals.

Neozoon's work is both amusing and arresting. Seeing the playful animals in city centers and on monuments makes us smile. But the subsequent realization that these are actual animal pelts (made from discarded fur coats) creates a feeling of uneasiness. For sure, their message does not go unnoticed.

WOOSTER: How do you choose the specific placements?

NEOZOON: Finding a place to release the Neozoons always depends on several criteria, the most important one being the animal itself. We try to find the right place for each one: where it feels at home, where it finds the attention it needs, were it finds fellow kind-like the bears in Berlin, who were close to the Berlin heraldic bears in their undeserving bear pit-or where it walks on historic trails, like the flock of lambs on their way to La Villette in Paris, once one of the largest slaughterhouses in Europe.

W: What do you think your piece adds to or subtracts from to the community?

N: At best, it raises questions, like: "Where have all those animals gone in my environment" or "oops-was this piece of shrink wrapped supermarket meat really once alive and kicking?" We take discarded fur coats and reintroduce them to the environment by returning them to their former shape, making it "live," to let people perceive [that] this used to be a living animal. Then it was just an animal skin, with a human inside, and now it has returned as an animal. Maybe it also adds something wild to our civilized urban surrounding.

W: What type of reaction did you get from the community?

N: Overall the reactions are positive, both on the streets and via the internet. Often people encourage us, when they "catch" us working, although, to be honest, some are also disgusted.

W: Is there a story about putting it up?

N: The starting point of our work is the material, which we get in masses for free because it is otherwise discarded and destroyed. It is a simple recycling process by which we can diversify urban space without being merely decorative.

W: Why did you choose the subject matter you did?

N: Our concern is the animal and its environment. We question the relationship of people and animals in a Western urban surrounding. You could really describe it as schizophrenic. On one hand, tons of meat: thousands of animals slaughtered every hour outside the cities and sold in clean plastic with expiration dates, and preferably not to be recognized as such. And on the other hand pets: insanely bred toys and overloaded with emotions. Its just interesting to see, how we perceive animals and how they seem to differ in value, just depending on what fits us best.

W: What is inspiring to you now?

There are a lot of interesting debates and weird stuff going on in transgenetic research, politics, economy, sociology, and it is all connected to the question of what separates human beings from animals and what connects them. And it is inspiring to reinvent our social, environmental, and natural surroundings.

To see more of Neozoon's work, visit their website. To see more great street art, visit the Wooster Collective.

Top photo by Daniel Dick.


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