Will This Cat Piano Make the Aliens Want to Kill Us?
A Cat Piano designed by 17th-century scholar Athanasius Kircher works by jabbing each kitty’s tail to produce a particular mew. The sadistic (but apparently never built) invention is part of The Last Pictures, the collection of 100 images Trevor Paglen will send into orbit on a EchoStar satellite this fall. Carl Sagan’s cheerful we-are-the-world optimism is absent from Paglen’s missive to unknown life forms. The presumptive great achievements of human civilization-–space travel, modern art–-come off as quaint and obsolete. Images stand in for global warming, industrial pollution, and man’s inhumanity to man, expressed in deviously cheerful images of prisoners of war and Agent-Orange deformed children. Even cats are pressed into service as a piano.
If Earth hasn’t been destroyed by the time aliens find this, it could make them want to finish the job. Read more.