On Saturday, August 23, the Farnsworth Art Museum will present midcoast Maine’s first annual Internet Cat Video Festival. The festival will begin at 5 p.m. with a cat-themed fair featuring a cat costume contest, games, art activities, food vendors as well as other cat-themed shenanigans. At approximately 8 p.m., the 72-minute reel of 90 internet cat videos will begin. This event, which will take place at Harbor Park, in Rockland, is open and free to the public.
Begun in 2012 at the Walker Art Center, a renowned contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, Minn., the Internet Cat Video Festival is the first offline celebration of online cat videos. The festival is a live event, gathering fellow feline fanatics to watch a curated collection of cat clips—from six second Vine videos, to short films and everything in between—in a social environment. The first festival was an unparalleled and unexpected success. The Walker Arts Center saw the convergence of 10,000 people—some in costumes, others cradling kitty companions, all feline fanatics, and became a viral sensation online. Since then the festival has spawned other lives, including a national and international tour. The Farnsworth Art Museum is an official tour site for the second edition of the film festival, which took place at the Walker Art Center in the summer of 2013.
The Farnsworth believes that internet cat videos are doing many of the things compelling art should: raising questions, challenging assumptions, surprising people, and—in the case of this festival—creating a real, multisensory experience. This festival is a crowd-sourced social gathering that taps into the growing trend towards socially engaged art and public practice: it’s not just about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together.
At sundown, the public is invited to bring their own blanket and find their way to the big screen in Rockland’s Harbor Park. The Farnsworth’s first annual Internet Cat Video Festival is made possible in part through the generosity of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates, Inc., The Strand Theatre and Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, For more information, please visit the Farnsworth Art Museum’s website.