Cats of the Internet Make It to Museum-Exhibit Status

What’s furry and wide-eyed and popular all over the web? A legitmate museum exhibit looks closely at how cats seized our collective attention.

What’s furry and wide-eyed and popular all over the web? A legitmate museum exhibit looks closely at how cats seized our collective attention.

From lolcats to Lil BUB, cats have ruled the internet for more than a decade. How did we get so lucky? The Museum of the Moving Image has answered our question in an exhibit starting this month.

“How Cats Took Over the Internet” runs from Aug. 6, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016, and uses video, GIFs and interactive displays to explain this phenomenon of cats ruling the web. Associate Curator of Digital Media Jason Eppink organized the exhibition and says it looks at  why the rise of cats has occurred and “the aesthetics of cuteness, sort of a serious investigation into it.”

“Some people write it off as frivolous and silly –  but it’s such a phenomenon that we need to take it seriously and find out why we identify and with cats.” Eppink says the show looks over a timeline of significant moments of cats on the internet, both cats online and major media mentions about cats.

How to encapsulate an obsession that’s been many years in the making, and explore its captivation?

“The best way to describe it is an immersive installation, with hundreds of GIFs and videos surrounding you in the space,” Eppink says. Multiple projectors will display 100-200 clips inside a space. A world map will show where cats are popular, and where other animals take their place in a country’s collective fascination. A screening room will show select videos, curated by Henri le Chat Noir creator Will Braden.

You can also be a part of the exhibit. Visitors have a chance to make their own cat meme and contribute their photos.

“At the end, people can share which videos they think should be in the exhibition,”Eppink says. “It gives people an opportunity to respond. Everyone’s voice is important.”

Eppink reviewed traffic from major websites and researched publications, including Cat Fancy magazine, to create the show. He spent a year thinking of the exhibit and put in months of research to bring it together.

“How Cats Took Over The Internet” will showcase several events during its run, such as screenings and cat appearances. Click for more information about the show at the Museum of the Moving Image.

And tell us: why do you think cats took over the internet?

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