Someone Finally Made A Cat God For Us To Worship
Last week, Bushwick gallery 319 Scholes brought together sixty artists for Art Hack Day—a three-day-long, bleary-eyed hackathon where teams created technology-based works around the theme of “God Mode."
On paper, Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader are just two Brooklyn-based artists who create wildly popular fashion GIFs and happen to be a couple. The reality is a little more complicated. Reed + Rader, as they call themselves, function more as a symbiotic being—doing everything together, answering interview questions as a singular identity, and apparently never spending more than 72 hours apart. Their relationship brings to mind Marina Abramovic and Ulay during their most frenetic and soulful. Needless to say, Reed + Rader also share the same obsessions.
One of their biggest obsessions is cats—those diminutive creatures that somehow lord over the internet. So, during the 48-hour time frame they were given during Art Hack Day, the duo set out on an ambitious project: creating a gigantic cat idol using 3D projection mapping technology. “Cats are furry little bosses that have god-like personalities,” they explained. Thus, they begat CATGOD.
In a nutshell, CATGOD looks what you’d get if you dropped acid and decapitated the rabbit from Donnie Darko. Eyes swirling with psychedelic glee, teeth bared in a maniacal grin, it puts the world’s most famous false idol—the Biblical golden calf—to shame.
To create CATGOD, Reed + Rader used a mixture of technology and old-fashioned arts & crafts. After building the cat on Maya, they used a software called Pepakura Designer to print out the patterns from the 3D data onto 96 sheets of paper. Then came the backbreaking challenge of cutting out the patterns, tracing them onto foamcore, cutting out that foamcore, and finally, hot gluing the pieces together to form the final cat head. “We had many moments where we questioned if the head would be built in time,” they admitted.
Just 90 minutes before 319 Scholes had to open its doors to the public, the pair scrambled to map the graphics they had designed on Photoshop onto the physical cat using Modul8 and MadMapper—two types of projection mapping software that work hand in hand. They finished just in time, and CATGOD became one of the most marveled-at pieces of the night.
Reed + Rader hope to build a metal version to hang in their apartment, to scare the hell out of their actual pet kittens. For now, the original CATGOD belongs to 319 Scholes. Go, and pay your respects.