San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 23, 2001.
The truth about Kac and dogs
THERE'S A MOVIE being passed around, almost like a
samizdat document: a short thing, four minutes long, called
"Transgenic Hairshirt." It's a very simple idea. A man (looking
increasingly like Uncle Fester) has his head shaved so that he
can make a sweater for his poor, bald cat. The cat, it has to be
said, is not greatly impressed, but what do you expect? It's
described by its director and star Dale Hoyt as "a love story of
a boy and his cat he was cold!"
As if looking like Uncle Fester isn't enough, Hoyt has the
demeanor of a fey mad scientist, and Carmine the cat is a
sphinx, and a dead ringer for Dr. Evil's cat. This is only
appropriate, as Hoyt has been involved for many years with
the artists' think tank Coalition of Artists and Lifeforms. CALF
as a group is very anxious about biotechnology and lives by
the motto "We're saving the world one kitten at a time." As
times have changed, "CALF is trying to figure out how to
mutate we're trying to figure out some sort of niche market
we can get into, like animal husbandry," Hoyt said.
It's hard to see Hoyt herding sheep in Marin just yet. CALF is
more of a talking shop, and Hoyt's latest target is Eduardo
Kac's notorious green bunny. Earlier this year Kac was
heckled at UC Berkeley's Kroeber Hall when he showed up to
talk about his latest "artwork," a glow-in-the-dark rabbit that
he commissioned from Brazilian gene hackers who added
firefly genes to a rabbit's to make the bunny green. Aside from
the question of farming out your work (like Mark Kostabi),
Hoyt takes issue with Kac at a much more vital level:
"I don't think the green bunny is the least bit funny. What is
the worst-case scenario? The animal gets out, mates with the
other rabbits in the forest, they glow in the dark, and then the
other animals kill all the bunnies! I think Eduardo Kac should
give himself a fucking phosphorescent enema and see how he
Hoyt takes an old-school liberal approach to Jackass and its
"Jackass is Britney Spears. And as far as I'm concerned,
Eminem is Fleetwood Mac; they're the same fucking thing. It
all shows the increasing level of desperation on the part of an
industry that's run out of ideas and imagination. I think that the
best thing about art is that it's an opportunity for people to
reexperience their innocence. That's my goal in life at the
moment, to escape cynicism."
His next movie will be a documentary about Lou Hawthorne,
the originator of the dog-cloning Missy project.
The thing about Lou is that he's very self-incriminating, but he
regards that as part of the process, because he's a Buddhist. I'll
try to be polite about the whole thing, but I think what he's
doing is a drag.
BAck to Kac Web