As much as we all love dogs, between Lolcats, Keyboard Cat, Grumpy Cat, Maru, Lil’ Bub and the other major money-making felines, it’s an indisputable fact that cats are the Internet’s favorite animal. To commemorate and explore this phenomenon, the Museum of the Moving Image is launching a new exhibition in New York called How Cats Took Over the Internet. Running from August 7, 2015 to January 31, 2016, the exhibit integrates live screenings and events that explore the memeification and popularity of cats online.
“The Internet’s collective obsession with cats offers a window into the way we understand ourselves. This exhibition examines the many reasons for this deceptively frivolous phenomenon and highlights the new ways we’re creating, consuming, and sharing culture,” Associate Curator of Digital Media Jason Eppink, who organized the exhibition, stated in the show’s press release.
The exhibit will include thoughtfully curated cat GIFs, videos and photos that follow themes such as the rise of user-generated content, anthropomorphism, the aesthetics of cuteness and more. A multimedia timeline mapping out “significant moments of cats online” will be complimented by a historical exploration of portrayals of cats in visual media.
Since the Internet is so collaborative, the show will also include interactive stations allowing museum-goers to create Lolcats and add their favorite feline photos, GIFs and videos to the exhibit. There will also be a world map of animal memes created by The Civic Beat, a collective of researchers and writers focused on civic technology.
In addition to all of this, Will Braden, curator of the Internet Cat Video Festival (based at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis), has curated a continuous loop of noteworthy cat videos to be played in the adjacent video screening amphitheater.
How Cats Took Over the Internet will also have related events happening during its six month run, the first of which will be the Cat-vant Garde Film Show on October 10. It will focus on how cats have inspired some of the masters of classic experimental film. Other programs are in the works as well and will be announced on their website as they are confirmed, so make sure you check back.
Visit Museum of the Moving Image’s website for more information, museum hours, location and transit direction.