The Minneapolis Walker Art Center wanted to better use their outdoor space in the summer, so after tossing around a few ideas they decided to forgo poetry recitals and live music and instead try something completely new – a huge video screen playing popular cat videos from the internet. Patrons could submit their favorite videos and a panel from the museum would select the best clips based on artistic merit.
“We thought maybe a couple of dozen people would show up,” Stulen recalled. “I mean, we are talking about cat videos.”
But Stulen clearly underestimated the power and lure of felines.
On the first night of Labor Day weekend, approximately 10,000 people showed-up to watch a 70-minute video compilation of cats acting cute, mischievous, naughty and downright philosophical. Nearly 1,000 people had to be turned away due to lack of space. According to Stulen, so many people were arriving at the museum at the same time that nearby freeway off-ramps were clogged and police had to be called in to direct and divert traffic!
“The response was something I can tell you in our wildest hopes and estimates was way beyond what we expected,” Stulen said with a chuckle. “It was really unlike anything I had ever seen before. … I knew people loved cats and cat videos, but I don’t think I realized how deep that love was until then.”
Now the cat video project is touring the country as the Internet Cat Video Festival and even making a trip overseas to Vienna! The next stop is in Oakland, California May 11th. The clips will be viewed on the Great Wall of Oakland, a 10-story high building where numerous large-scale projections have been shown.
Following California, the feline footage will head to Minnesota (August) and New York (October).
Oakland organizers have been forewarned about the potential rock-concert size crowds and will not be blindsided as was the Minneapolis Walker Art Center. Furthermore, this time the huge crowd of cat-lovers will be asked to pay a $10 admission fee, which will benefit the East Bay SPCA. Ten thousand people times $10 is a lot of money and it is wonderful knowing that the beneficiaries will be the video stars’ fellow felines in need.
So the big question is, why ARE cat youtube videos so popular? What do you think the answer is?