Thousands of people visit Helsinki Zoo every year. Besides presenting values of conservation and protection, the zoo also functions as a representation of ‘the wild’. The cages of animals from faraway places have been carefully designed to have the appearance of a jungle, a desert or mountain side, despite being constructed in Northern Europe. Their habitat is reduced, their interaction with other species is dramatically narrowed down, their behaviour can hardly be called authentic. Visitors willingly forget the constructed-ness of the scene. In ‘Cat Valley’, I documented visitors’ reflections on the windows of the viewing area into the cages. In the installation three life-sized screens show the visitors gazing through the glass, trying to catch a glimpse of the ‘real’ that they were promised. However, only an artificial landscape is visible. The video and its audio track have been slowed down; the sound of the visitors starts to resemble the moans of the beasts.
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