WASHINGTON, DC—The Internet is a pretty amazing thing. Originally conceived as a decentralized command and control network that could withstand a (partial) nuclear holocaust, its use has evolved far beyond its Cold War origins. Of particular note is that it has become a digital home for information and ideas…many of which relate to cats.
pictures of cats, videos of cats; if you can name it and there’s a cat involved, you’ll probably find it online – I’ll call this line 35. As any cat owner knows, almost nothing suits cats better than lasers. That’s especially evident at a historic warehouse in Washington, DC, which hosted Laser Cat for two nights this week.
Organized by the Washington Project for the Arts and designed by Barcelona-based Hungry Castle, Laser Cat is an internet-based piece of art that – of course – shoots lasers from its eyes and projects art from the audience, all accompanied by a soundtrack of various local DJs. How on earth could we resist the chance to meet Laser Cat? We couldn’t. Ars braved a particularly cold evening in Washington to meet Laser Cat and learn more.
Dave Glass, half of the Hungry Castle duo, explained how it all works. “First, people send their personal art to LC through his self-made website feedlasercat.com,” said Glass. “He digests it and spins it through his laser algorithms. He then projects it via his laser beam eyeballs and 20,000 lumen brain projector onto buildings and occasionally into space.”
Laser Cat debuted last year in Miami, FL, and has since appeared in cities like Barcelona. During that time, more than 17,000 artworks have been uploaded to Laser Cat’s memory banks. According to Glass, they’re mostly images, so he and co-creator Killian Cooper modify and animate them using the cat’s algorithms. Next to the DJ’s equipment at an event is a large button, which allows attendees to change the art being projected. The overall effect was pretty awesome, taking our reporter back to his (slightly mis-spent) childhood. If Laser Cat happens to come to your town, you just owe it to yourself and the internet to check it out.
As a bonus (short) we have a video of Laser Cat in action:
Frame image by Jonathan Gitlin