John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
No, there's not a serial killer targeting poultry.
Gruesome, poultry-based crime scenes have popped up around London. Pale, wrinkled claws stick up from the cold ground and poke out from behind grates—is the city being stalked by a Jack the Defeatherer?
The unsettling displays are actually the work of Brooklyn's Dan Witz, a veteran street artist who excels at making it seem like animals are lurking everywhere in public architecture. While Witz's previous illusions have played around with two dimensions, for this new one he's sculpted painted-resin chicken feet to plant around London like little visual bombs. The fowl endeavor fits right in with the mission of his life's work: "to stop people in their tracks and make them go, 'WTF?!!?'"
Witz's partner in this project is PETA, which is running an anti-slaughterhouse campaign called "Empty the Cages." The organization writes:
Renowned street artist Dan Witz has created these pieces to connect us with the billions of individual animals who suffer and die out of sight each year for food.
The Empty the Cages project seeks to bring these animals out from the shadows—and remind us of what happens every day on farms and in slaughterhouses. At the same time, it reminds us that their fate is in our hands and that we have the power to save them by choosing not to consume their flesh.
These are a few of the 30-plus barnyard alterations Witz has inserted around London, including a jailed cow; a map of all their locations is available here.
London 2014 cast resin installed for PETA UK #PETAUK #emptythecages #emptythecagesldn #aggag #animalagriculture #danwitz #danwitzstreetart #sirpaulmccartney #globalstreetart