The Fine Art Of The Internet Part III: Nyan Cat

Whilst some believe that true art should be restricted and vaulted away in galleries, I, an obviously more refined individual, do not. What we need is a revolution in the way art is conceptualized. Art is coming for the people, art is raining down all around us, art is constantly coming, and we are being showered in the warm, gooey loving embrace of art, even as I type this. The internet is a freeing and wonderful resource opening up whole new realms of possibility and opportunity, many an intrepid artist has already taken to this medium to share their work. I have sifted through the best and the worst of those, offering to you a selection of the more interesting pieces.

Approaching an internet giant such as Nyan Cat is a galling task, one I will take the utmost care in doing. Because I do not believe the under layers of this phenomenon have yet properly been explored.

By now Nyan Cat has filled the frame of practically every screen this dimension has to offer, whilst his creator the venerable artiste Christopher Torres (sometimes using the pseudonym prguitarman) could never have predicted the fame this little pop tart cat would muster, part of the beauty of this piece (as I’ve mentioned before in my Brodyquest article) is the journey. Nyan Cat never stops. This cute little cat is on a quest, for what we are not sure, but I’ve spent the better part of 24 hours watching him as research for this piece and I am sure above all else that he will not quit, Nyan Cat is eternal. Too me it feels a little like we are just the beginning for this feline explorer, invading our screens is only the first step in his inter-dimensional, extra-terrestrial adventure.

Nyan Cat will soon break through this dimension into the next, where he will be both conqueror and destroyer.
Nyan Cat will soon break through this dimension into the next, where he will be both conqueror and destroyer.

Notice how I cannot help but refer to Nyan Cat as if it is an entity of itself, which technically it has become so because of that fact. This irony is another reason Nyan Cat is so very interesting. We have breathed life into it by sheer belief, this I take to be an analogy of faith and religion in which Christopher Torres is not condemning or advocating organised religion and the idea of a god, but asking us to step back and consider it, very carefully. Nyan Cat is a spirit guide, taking us on a journey of spirtitual growth, holding our hand as we realize that Nyan Cat could not do that for us, unless we gave ourselves unto him utterly, we can find strength in our surrender, faith in our failure to face this existence alone. It also mirrors the popularity of other great works of art such as the Mona Lisa in which the subject free’s itself from the confines of its frame becoming something seperate and of itself.

Certain detractors claim that the Nyan Cat craze is simply a man cashing in on the idiocy of the youtube generation. That Christopher Torres has mashed together the perfect combination of mind numbing distraction into the ultimate amalgamation of time wasting pap. Nyan Cat is a combination of crazy Japanese music, ridiculous sugary foods, bright colours and cats, any one of which a valid viral video contender on their own, combined they have culminated in this mega-viral overlord. With the exception of crazy Japanese music, they are also the very same tools most would employ to keep a baby or a toddler amused. If Nyan Cat is a god, and the internet his temple, maybe we could all benefit from spending a little less time praying. This is just another of the messages Christopher Torres hopes your brain has not been too mushified by lack of use to pick up on when viewing his masterpiece.

Following on from my last idea, there is also a sense of competition attached to the Nyan Cat legacy. That of ‘how long can you watch Nyan Cat for?’, multiple duplicates of the original video exist, with ever lengthening duration’s. On the official Nyan Cat website there is an official timer, counting how long you’ve ‘Nyan’d’ for. What a curious thing to take pride in? Unless it is in fact the very same feeling of superiority that one gets from lingering on a portrait at a gallery just ever so slightly longer than the person before you did. It doesn’t matter if your head was empty of thought, whether you contemplated the piece more in depth or not, at least you looked at it longer right? Wrong. Without an understanding of what it is you are looking at, without contemplating how it makes you feel, why it makes you feel that way, what it inspires in you, all you are doing is wasting time. So for the vast majority of its slack jawed audience, it is indeed a competition of who can waste the most of their time, and this interesting insight into idiocy is a work of art in itself.

Congratulations on your high score, you're that many seconds closer to death.
Congratulations on your high score, you’re that many seconds closer to death.

Whilst it is tempting to forsake our own progression to follow Nyan Cats, letting our selves be enraptured and ensnared by the kaleidoscopic magnificence of it, we must break free from this stupification, agreeably our own journey may be a little less technicolour, more muted and mundane, but the cosmic splendour that we all see in Nyan Cat is just a projection of our own potential.

Words by Cuthbert Cunningham

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