Meet the Artists
The artist duo, both born in 1976 in Brescia, Italy.
The artists began working together in 1994 in Berlin, and now are based in New York.
The internet artists highlight how networked images such as memes
“interfere with and define our private and social behaviour.”
The artists have multiple works featuring screens on furniture from Ikea
that costs tens of thousands of dollars. They also have a video series on their instagram page
and their website called “The Bots”. There is one thing online that circulates
in viral videos and pictures, and those things are cats.
I will be taking a look at two of Eva and Franco’s works, one created in 2016,
and the other in 2020.
Both of these taxidermied cat sculptures are showcased at
Fotomuseum Winterthur for their show “Dear Imaginary Audience,”.
Ceiling Cat (2016)
About Ceiling Cat
Ceiling Cat may seem like a cute fluffy cat staring at you from a ceiling,
but the origin may shock you.
Originating in the early 2000s, the image has gone through some remixes to create the meme the sculpture was based off of.
“In 2006, the sentence “Ceiling Cat is watching you masturbate” was added to the image:
an insidious joke that evokes the dystopian figure of Big Brother and turns the cat into a symbol of
the omnipresent eye of the internet that monitors
everything and of voyeuristic image consumption.”
The message is still relevant nowadays considering
a large portion of the population had to
suddenly switch to living life online.
Half Cat (2020)
About Half cat
Half Cat has remained one of my favorite memes ever since I first saw the meme.
The meme was originally believed to be a product of a glitch in a panoramic picture.
The picture cropped the back end of the cat,
giving the illusion of a two legged cat.
The origin of the image is actually a product of somebody photoshopping the cat,
removing the two back legs and the ears.
There were many recreatings of this internet meme,
but making the cat seem like it is walking makes me giggle.
Comparing the two
The two art pieces are an interesting take on the artists normal internet art.
Although the two sculptures are not exactly presented on the internet,
they are by products of the internet.
By having the sculptures in an exhibit where people can view it,
it merges the two worlds when people are able to make the connections.
Two cats seen by millions on the internet in one form or another are brought back
to life in their new remixed form.
The cats are no longer the original cats they once were,
they have been transformed across cyberspace.
About the exhibits
The exhibits at Fotomuseum Winterthur, “Dear Imaginary Audience,”
are shown alongside other of the artist's works.
The two cat sculptures can be seen to be near each other at the exhibit,
which allows for the audience to draw their own personal connections.
Some people can recognize the Half Cat as an original meme,
created into a taxidermied sculpture.
Those who have no idea about the meme must have their own personal opinion about this strange two legged cat.
The Ceiling Cat comes from an earlier period,
which is meant to feel like you are constantly being watched.
Some people may automatically make the connection between the meme and the message of internet surveillance,
but those who have not heard of this meme may make other other connections.
The pictures people share of the cats online gain traction,
which is interesting to compare the way those images
go through some of those phases the original memes made.
About the artist
Described as “an exhibition celebrating meme culture” by Kitty Robson in an interview with Maisie Post and Jake Rees,
the creators of the art exhibition What do you Meme?’, a way of celebrating memes as a higher art form.
"an internet meme is simply an image, usually photoshopped, with added text that is often humourous, or relatable. This is then shared, and reiterated across social media platforms.” - Maisie Florence Post
“What do you Meme?” is a collection of memes that have been submitted by everyday people. The memes are exhibited on the walls for people to stop by and react like they would at a normal art museum.
How the Artists Compare
The artists share some similarities with the way they view memes.
What I find interesting is how the two artists are able to bring memes, usually viewed as online mediums, to life.
Post brings memes that people enjoy to a physical medium, by printing out popular memes for people to experience in a new format.
These memes are all recycled, meaning the memes have gone through some sort of remix to create many meanings.
The two cat memes by Eva and Franco are also recycled, they have many forms that people may recognize them by.
The forms have only been enhanced and brought to life for people to enjoy in this alternate medium.