September 11, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Cats and kittens: Ewa Ciepielewska, Krzysztof Gil, Marcin Janusz, Alicja Rogalska, Justyna Górowska, Kola Śliwińska, Ania Batko, Agnieszka Szczotka, Gio Fazzolari, Angela Maasalu, Marco Pagliardi, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Julia Gamaker, Elan Gamaker, Paprika Skala Williams, Gaja Wranka, Olga Grotova, Jakub Gliński
Calumnious cats, who circulate faux pas,
And reputations maul with murd’rous claws Shrill cats, whom fierce domestic brawls delight, Cross cats, who nothing want but teeth to bite, Starch cats of puritanic aspect sad, And learned cats who talk their husbands mad
The end of the world is near. Supposedly with the waning of the Anthropocene, the civilization of cats will arise. Of demons, loners, dark wizards, and furry witches’ familiars. Domesticated tigers who, according to Carl van Vechten, sleep when they want and eat from your hand when they want. They kill for fun and purr for your pleasure. Kitty-cat, kitty-cat!
Calling cats is like triggering a tornado. Particularly because, as T.S. Eliot says, every cat has a third name, a “deep and inscrutable singular name.” And every cat is like a ticking timebomb— one that will disintegrate into thousands of particles. As in the story by Wanda Gág: “Cats here, cats there,//Cats and kittens everywhere,//Hundreds of cats,//Thousands of cats,//Millions and billions and trillions of cats.” Suddenly they all flood into the living room. And as in an old English fairy tale, in revenge cats take over the world, sleep in beds, eat at the table, and toss crumbs to their human servants. That’s all it takes to amuse a cat. The Cheshire Cat grins broadly, and as the Duchess says, it’s hard to find a cat that doesn’t. Here we’ve all got a wild hair. You must get one too—if the cat wishes it. Otherwise you wouldn’t have come.
It could have been an exhibition, but instead we decided to throw a party. We will roll joints from catnip instead of oats, and we will eat cookies and wash them down with cocktails laced with milk. We will stretch, collect dreams from mirrors with cotton balls, form pills from powder, lick sugar from paintings, and over a quartz lamp singe stripes into fur. Dance on a restless volcano to manifest our own felinity. We will write a play, which for a change will not be about cats but written for cats. For cats put in a box by Schrödinger. In the same box is a hammer, a vial of poison, a Geiger counter and a radioactive element. The cat must die—that is clear. So long as we don’t open the box, the cat is equally alive and dead. Only we don’t want to open it. What the cat can be interests us much more than what the cat really is. Supposedly Leonor Fini would accept guests only if her cats liked them first. During supper, the cats would stroll lazily among the dishes, nibbling at caviar. As Carolee Schneemann says, a cat is a medium. Behemoth purrs: “We are delighted!” The Cat in the Hat is up to his old tricks.
A cat in gloves catches no mice. Impatient, we creep inside the box. And here like the cat we have nine times to die. If the pandemic goes on for a while longer, the neighbours will finally find us dead in the living room. White cats will lick up our sweet blood. Or the bloodthirsty beasts will crunch on our bones out of boredom. Here anything can happen. And equally, nothing could happen. Meow!
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