Wonder Cabinet Of The Big Electric Cat

One of my favorite strategies from Eno/Scmidt's Oblique Strategies cards is: "How would you have done it?" In the midst of the creative process I sometimes forget that it is indeed up to me, so it's useful to remind myself that I can (and should) do it the way I would have done. So I curated this show the way I would have done it, almost for myself. It is more like a private collection than a public exhibition. If I had a chance to ask any group of internet artists to make something new just for me, something that I mself would want to privately experience and be glad to have on my hard drive; and if I was able to give these artists any sort of direction; and if the work didn't have to please anybody but me; who would I ask and what would my instructions be?

The instructions for the artists were loose. First watch a video, and then make whatever you like. The video was the 1982 Adrian Belew music video, "Big Electric Cat," which still blows away much of the contemporary retro-glitch campy bad prosumer-FX fetishism that so frequently pats itself on the back as novel in certain tumblr-centric, gif-centric contemporary net art circles.

The artists were simply artists whose work I like. Some of the artists' work is pretty close to my own online work and era (Margaret Penney, Katie Bush, Myron Campbell). Some were younger artists whose work is peculiarly and wonderfully idiosyncratic (Laura Brothers, Francoise Gamma). I invited (staged?) three collaborative teams because I wanted to see how their dialogue would play out given these loose constraints (Doxa Phloxa + Glenn Young; Kevin Carey + Shawne Michaelain Holloway; LoVid). And I invited one artist because I was curious to see how her elegant and detailed installation work would translate into an online piece (Sophia Sobers).

I am personally very happy with the pavilion. Even though the source of its inspiration is a roaring psychedelic cat, the work that resulted feels almost introspective, patient, rigorous, and precious.

I invite you to enjoy this work with me. - Curt Cloninger aka Play Damage

Wonder Cabinet of the Big Electric Cat's Artists

Kevin Carey + Shawne Michaelain Holloway
Margaret Penney
Glenn Young + Doxa Phloxa
Laura Brothers
Sophia Sobers
Katie Bush
Francoise Gamma
Myron Campbell

Wonder Cabinet of the Big Electric Cat's Curator

Curt Cloninger aka Play Damage

Curt Cloninger is an artist, writer, and Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of North Carolina Asheville (US). His art undermines language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world. By layering, restructuring, hashing, eroding, exhausting, and (dis)splaying language, he causes language to perform itself until its "meaning" has less to do with what it denotes and more to do with how it behaves. His work has been featured in the New York Times and at festivals and galleries from Korea to Brazil. Exhibition venues include Digital Art Museum [DAM] Berlin, L'Instituto de México à Paris, Living Arts of Tulsa, and The Art Gallery of Knoxville.

Cloninger has written on a wide range of topics, including new media and internet art, installation and performance art, experimental graphic design, popular music, network culture, and continental philosophy. His articles have appeared in Intelligent Agent, Mute, Paste, Tekka, Rhizome Digest, A List Apart, and on ABC World News. He is also the author of seven books, most recently "Fresher Styles for Web Designers" (New Riders). He maintains lab404.com, playdamage.org , and deepyoung.org in hopes of facilitating a more lively remote dialogue with the Sundry Contagions of Wonder.