Data as Culture - Art that uses data as a material
Eva and Franco Mattes’ work is characterised by a constant motion between classic understandings of fact and fiction. Their actions interweave “real” and the “virtual” space to create complex open-ended narratives. Ceiling Cat is a sculpture of a cat poking its head through a hole in the ceiling. It watches the activities of the ODI from above, and is a direct artist’s interpretation of the online meme of the same name. The original photoshopped image is thought to have originated in 2003. Although ignored for many years, from 2006 onwards the image started to be associated with the Lolcat phenomena – images of cats looking cute, ridiculous or foolish, accompanied by captions intended to be humorous. Captions frequently list the different things Ceiling Cat is ‘watching’ you do, and range from the inane or crude to genuinely hilarious. In the ‘Lolcat Bible’, written in idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect lolspeak, Ceiling Cat is presented as an equivalent to the Judeo-Christian God. The piece can be experienced as a one-off visual gag, a reflection on the power we entrust to the internet, or the nature of fictional omnipresent surveillance on culture.