Artist Karolina Sobecka gave me a ride in her car yesterday, which she is driving around as part of her performative installation Wildlife. On the backseat of the car there is a powerful projector which is beaming a tiger on whatever happens to be parallel to the car. The animation of the cat is directly linked to the speed of the car, so when Karolina hits the throttle, the tiger starts running along as if on a leash, leaving behind baffled pedestrians. There are also sensors for cars that pull up in direct proximity which will also be represented by smaller animals.
To her, the tiger is like an avatar to the car which creates a poetic juxtaposition between the “grittiness” of the city and and the luminescent figure of the cat on the wall. She wants to remind people of how much most technologies draw both their inspriration and (quite literally) power from nature. Another aspect is the fact of our relation to nature within the cities and potentially predatory animals that are coming to the cities, like the coyotes of Los Angeles or the bear that recently appeared in Germany. How much of nature would we really want to have around us?
Being one of the recent drive-by-projection projects (see related links) and being exhibited in California, it’s almost ironic that the animals return through cars to San Jose.