Just in time for National Dog Day, which falls this year on August 26, British inventor, artists and designer Dominic Wilcox has designed a contemporary art exhibition for our canine friends, featuring such installations as a dog bowl-shaped ball pool and an open car window simulator. Located in Tanner Street in London, the exhibition, devised with the help of Cow PR, took place across two days from 19-20 August and consisted of a series of interactive art installations, all of which were inspired by activities that dogs love. Wilcox, who is known for his playful and experimental inventions, was commissioned by insurance company More Than to create the exhibition to encourage dog owners to spend more time with their pets as part of their #PlayMore campaign.
Three of Wilcox's own exhibits were among the works on show, as well as paintings and interactive experiences by five other British artists; Nick White, Clare Mallison, Joanne Hummel-Newell, Robert Nicol and Michelle Thompson. One of Wilcox's installations, named “Cruising Canines,” was an open car window simulator where a giant fan wafts a dog's favourite scents, like raw meat and old shoes. His second piece, called “Dinnertime Dreams,” was a giant dog bowl filled it with brown balls designed to look like dog biscuits, whilst his third played on the well known doggy pastime of chasing water, and took the form of a series of dancing water jets.
Other installations included “Post” – an artist’s interpretation of a dog’s excitement when letters fall through the letterbox; “Scent Satisfaction” – a woodland landscape created using only the colours dogs can see; and “Drumstick Park” – a park scene that envisioning chicken drumsticks being used as a dog’s point of reference. Nick White's “Catch” multimedia installation, meanwhile, simulated all the excitement of a frisbee bouncing around a screen. It might all sound pretty dull to us, but to a dog, it's probably the most exciting thing in the world and all the exhibitors worked alongside veterinary experts, who advised on the best ways to mentally and physically stimulate the canine visitors. Each artist tailored their works to suit a dog's ability to only see grey, yellow and blue colours and to help them have the best view possible, all of the pieces are displayed at the base of the gallery's walls.
Wilcox, whose other surreal inventions include a car made from stained glass and a series of absurd breakfast accessories to encourage children to eat in the mornings, said of his exhibition: “I believe that playfulness in design, particularly at the beginning, at the ideas stage, is really important. Contemporary art has long been an important source of inspiration and fascination for humans, but never before has it been created with a view to drawing the same kind of emotions out of animals instead.”
In related news, the dog friendly restaurant chain, Porky’s BBQ, has created London’s first burger for dogs in partnership with Murphy’s Bakery. Available exclusively at Porky’s BBQ restaurants, the new addition to the menu will be served to celebrate National Burger Day (August 25) and National Dog Day. The brand has four dog friendly sites in London, including locations in Crouch End, Chelsea, Bankside and Camden, all of which will be offering the exclusive Bow Bow Burger to all doggy pals arriving with their human owners on both dates. The Bow Wow Burger itself was developed in partnership with homemade dog treat specialists Murphy’s Bakery. They are wheat and gluten free, as well having no additives, preservatives, salt, sugar or artificial colourings. National Burger Day is an initiative setup by Shortlist magazine’s alter ego, Mr Hyde, encouraging participating restaurants to offer 20% off all burgers on Thursday 25th August. National Dog Day, meanwhile, aims to galvanise the public to recognise the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and pure breed rescues.