Welcome children to the real world
Zoos and aquariums that I remember visiting on school trips were grossly idealistic places where animals are anthropomorphized and all our Disney stories play out--except, of course, for that one bear that always refused to come out of its cave and play for the spectators.
But a recent art installment in the SchÃ¶nbrunn Vienna zoo introduces visitors to the sad real world in which most animals live. The artist duo Steinbrener/Dempf have set up a number of real world scenarios in the zoo landscape: toxic waste drums in the aquarium, an oil rig in the penguin enclosure a sunken car wreck in the rhino pin, and railroad tracks in the bison enclosure.
On the bus-ride home from the zoo, I remember lots of people talking about how they wanted to become veterinarians. It sounded like a pretty glamorous job. Perhaps visitors to this zoo will leave wanting to become environmental activists. Looking at these scenes makes that sound like a pretty glamorous job too!