Be The Tiger
Be The Tiger Augmented Reality
The photo is our volunteers moving a tiger out to the 2.5 acre Vacation Rotation, but is a good reference for size of tiger, cage and people. Often tigers are displayed in cages like this at grand openings, bars, fairs, etc.
I had a vision this morning, inspired by ArtGlassGroup.com’s Rosa Parks immersive story. Howie improved the idea of mine from angelic voices to being the tiger’s voice.
Wearing something like Epson’s Moverio BT-350 smart glasses ($800) the viewer finds themselves inside a circus wagon, in virtual reality, or augmented reality, surrounded by obnoxious people saying every stupid thing we hear every day in a cacophony of sound.
Stupid Things People Say:
• Do you have any cubs?
• Can I touch the tiger?
• Tigers are big up close.
• How much does that tiger weigh?
• Can I pet the tiger?
• Make the tiger roar.
• Does the tiger know any tricks?
• I want a tiger for a pet. That would be so cool!
• Take my picture touching the tiger!
• My life’s dream would be to touch a tiger. How much would it cost?
• I got to pet a cub once. It was the best thing I ever did.
• Look at me in these pictures where I’m petting a cub.
• Can you ride the tigers here?
• If a lion and a tiger were in a fight, who would win?
• Can I feed the tiger?
• Do you ever pet the tigers?
• Make the tiger show his teeth for my picture.
• We need to breed tigers to save them from extinction.
But then the tiger’s voice starts softly, but increases in volume as the crowd’s voice fades back and the crowd begins to part back from the center field of view as well.
The tiger’s voice recaps what life in captivity has been like and becomes increasingly angry that this has been their plight. I’m wondering now if there should be two versions. A gender based voice might make it more immersive to the viewer, as male and female big cats have some variation in their daily lives that might be more powerful. ie: tigress talks more about having her cubs stolen away, tiger talks more about men trying to show dominance over them.
The tigress’ voice would say:
• From the day I was born I’ve been forced to listen to these stupid people.
• My eyes weren’t even open when they ripped me from my mother to pimp me out to people who wanted to pet me.
• They’d say how much they loved me, but I just wanted to go back to my mom, and when I’d claw and bite to get away, I’d be dropped, or smacked.
• They never let me see my mother again, but I remember her. I remember her soft warmth and sweet milk. I remember her tongue caressing me…
• It was never like that for me again.
• The dealers could sell these people powdered milk to feed me cold. It was awful, but I was so starved, I’d sit still and drink the bottle. That gave people what they wanted; a picture of them being “loving” to a tiger cub.
• I was still a toddler, but was strong, and I kept biting harder and scratching deeper to make them go away. Pretty soon the dealers would bring out younger cubs, and then my life got even worse.
• I couldn’t earn my keep, so I got fed last, if at all. I lived in my own filth because no one was paying to touch me any more.
• Before I was old enough to even think about dating I was being thrown in with adult male tigers, who were crazed from frustration.
• That began a cycle of having cubs of my own, who were torn from me, to be used as pay to play things for these ignorant people.
• Well, I’ve had it!
• I am too magnificent to live in a cage!
• I am one of the greatest predators in the world.
• I deserve to live free, and make my own choices; like what I will eat, who I will court and where and how I will raise my proud family!
• Some people recognize my worth. They know the earth’s life support system depends on healthy forests. My presence in that eco system is crucial to the survival of us all.
• No one needs to breed tigers to save us from extinction. All they need to do is protect wild places and we will do the rest.
• Set me free and I’ll save this world for all of us!
The tiger’s voice would say almost all the same things, but would swap out the bit about being bred and having cubs.
The Male Tiger’s Voice:
• The bigger I got the more people wanted to dominate me. At first they would punch me in the face, jerk my sensitive whiskers or twist my ears or tail.
• As I grew more powerful, they’d use whips and bats and even electric cattle prods.
• They would force me to do tricks that made it look like I liked them, such as nuzzling them, but all the while I just wanted to retaliate. I knew if I did, they’d just start abusing my brother though, so I let them get away with it.
As the tiger is saying the last couple of sentences, and the people’s voices are fading, and the crowd is parting, the tiger claws at the walls of the circus wagon and it gives way. (or we open the door) The viewer is the tiger as he/she sprints out toward the forested horizon. I know motion can make people sick, but I think this short burst of motion, right at the end, might even help people feel more sick to their stomach about the entire situation of big cats being held hostage that they would remember it longer.
We have circus wagons we could use for filming and our volunteers have heard and loathed the dumb things people say for nearly 30 years, so they would probably be excellent actors at conveying the level of idiocy we deal with every day. To get the running footage of the tiger, we could use our drone. Seeing your paws stretch out in front would be cool. The part I couldn’t recreate is tearing apart the circus wagon, but we could just open the door and move the camera through the opening.
As the tiger disappears, the call to action is to free all big cats from lives of confinement and deprivation by asking Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act at BigCatAct.com