If you’re planning a romantic mini-break to Paris, you might be planning to visit Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and eat your body weight in Brie.
What you probably won’t be expecting to come across on your travels, is a dead sperm whale washed up on the banks of the river Seine.
But for visitors to the city of love this weekend, that’s exactly what they will be seeing (and smelling) after the rotting 50-foot-long creature appeared in the city centre overnight.
Complete with rotting organs, a life-size carcass, a pool of blood and a ring-fence perimeter containing scientists in biohazard suits conducting an autopsy, you could be forgiven for thinking that the whale had actually made it’s way 100 miles inland to die.
But fortunately for the Paris Tourist Board the “hyper-real” creature is actually just an art installation created by Belgian organisation, Captain Boomer Collective, to stir feelings and raise awareness about humans destruction of the environment.
Founded in 2008, the group travel the world with their ‘Captain Boomer’ statue (named after the Moby Dick character) in order to educate the public about the plight of our oceans.
The collective explain: “Within this perimeter, the beaching is a true fact. The actors within the fence never drop their cover. They are scientific and official figures of a fictitious organisation, the North Sea Whale Association.
“They conduct scientific experiments; measuring the carcass, taking samples of organs and skin, preparing the cutting.”
Placing the whale on location overnight, the team of actors maintain that the beaching is real and use the shock factor to win public attention.
“The beached whale is a gigantic metaphor for the disruption of our ecological system,” the collective explain.
“People feel their bond with nature is disturbed. The game between fiction and reality reinforces this feeling of disturbance.”
The installation has previously appeared in Greenwich, Valencia, Antwerp, Rennes, and Oostende.