The Null Device

The sad, fictitious death of Natividad

Costa Rican artist Guillermo Habacus Vargas caused an uproar after announcing an art exhibition in which a dog was starved to death. The world was informed that a stray dog named Natividad was chained in an exhibition space, with a pot of food on the other side, out of reach, and kept there until it starved to death. As you can undoubtedly imagine, there was mass outrage worldwide, with galleries dealing with Vargas/Habacus receiving death threats and a petition against him collecting two million signatures. Then it emerged that the whole thing was a hoax: the dog was "starved" only for three hours at a time, and during the rest of the time was fed by the artist.
It has now emerged, however, that artist Guillermo Habacuc Vargas intended the work to be a stunt to show how a starving dog suddenly becomes the centre of attention when it is in a gallery, but not when it is on the street. The work was intended to expose people for what they really are - "hypocritical sheep". He said that in order for the work to be valid, he and the gallery had to give the impression that the dog was genuinely starving to death and that it died.

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