Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The cat’s meow

Of all the strange things we saw at the Yokohama Triennale Marcel Broodthaers' interview with a cat was the winner on the day. A table and a couple of chairs to set the scene and a recording of the artist interviewing some sort of cat. They work through issues around art, its meaning and future. “Is this one a good painting?” That sort of question followed by meows in answer. It’s on YouTube of course (you can listen to it here, spoiler alert it’s in French) which given that it’s cat-related isn’t so surprising but it does in turn give us the opportunity for a quick run down on the importance of cats as a cultural phenomenon. Although everyone in the art world owns a dog, cats rule the internet. Their rise and rise really began with mainstream blogging in the early 2000s which offered visuals and then YouTube in 2005.  “So what are some of the important internet cat moments?" you ask. One moment please:
2000: Bonzai kitten. Growing small cats in glassware. Essential. 

2004: Catbread. Just that. A loaf of bread that looks like a cat, oh it talks too. Edible. 
2006: Cats that look like Hitler. Don't blame the cat.
2006: Long cat. Stretch a cat. Surprisingly long.
2008: Simon’s cat. Cat cuteness gone mad. Cute (seriously) and a personal favourite
2009: Boozecats. What if your cat were a glass of spirits, or your glass of spirits was a cat? Both work
2010: Nyan. Annoying music, cute cat.

2012: The internet cat film festival. 5-4-3-2-1 cats.
2014: Skateboarding cat. Cat on a skateboard what's not to like?

Image: Marcel Broodthaers' interview with a cat originally performed in 1970 at the Museé d' Arte Modern in Dusseldorf at the Yokohama Triennale