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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArt (Moderator: JWK5)Art comparison and critique of two similar works.
Question: Which Cat Video Is Better Art?
Cheerful Nihilism - 1 (100%)
Michaelplzno - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 1

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Author Topic: Art comparison and critique of two similar works.  (Read 3538 times)
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« on: June 04, 2022, 02:43:36 PM »

In the spirit of elevating the discourse about what art is actually good, instead of just living in a wasteland where the question "what is art" is such a thorny subject we cannot even have a meaningful discussion about anything other than if casting a Chinese woman as the little mermaid, Ariel, is good or bad or racist. I present the following two examples of art:

PLZNO: https://youtube.com/shorts/fN43WBqE7fY?feature=share

CN: https://twitter.com/cheerynihilism/status/1533074071436595200?s=20&t=0Z8HU_YxBdl48ossh9pWFw

I would say the two pieces are indeed the same genera of art: "nonsensical cat videos" so in essence we are not comparing apples and oranges, the two videos can go head to head. Also the two videos were released within a week of each other, so the surrounding context of the pair is somewhat similar. If we are to say one video is escapist due to the trauma present in the surrounding world, then we must say that both suffer (or excel) from that.

The CN video opens with a bit of an exotic shot of a cat. One does not typically see a cat play with an exposed fan. Did the CN team set up this shot by allowing the cat to see the spinning fan and then film it? This raises ethical questions: was the cat safe when it was exposed to the fan blades? On the one hand, the sound of a cat touching a fan is truly not what one sees a cat doing but on the other it is risky, outside a cat's comfort zone of safety. However, no harm no foul, the cat seemed to enjoy playing with the fan and did not hurt itself so we cannot critique CN for enabling this situation.

The PLZNO video starts with a much more repetitive and mundane introduction. It is obvious that the same clip is on display 3 times in a row, and the clip is an iconic cat action, the meow. In this way the video emphasizes safety, monotony and the expected norms of cattitude. One could say that PLZNO celebrates the predictability of the normal cat rather than creates a sense of danger like in the CN video.

The CN video then introduces another character, a doggo. This disgruntled observer serves as a stand in for the audience. The cat playing with the fan is clearly the subject of watching, and the dog character represents us, the watchers, deciding if the video is good or bad.

PLZNO doubles down on repetition, adding a different clip of the same cat and then repeating the sequence in different rhythmic timing. CN considers the audience while PLZNO does not. In this way CN's clip is more aware of the audience's gaze, and seeks to influence the viewer and win them over by introducing a character who sees what the audience sees. PLZNO is completely severed from the audience and the viewer is left to interpret the art on its own. Is PLZNO more respectful of the audience? Unclear, by leaving the audience without guidance or hand holding it could be seen as alienating.

Both works of art introduce musical elements at around the same time. For CN we have the cat at a turntable supposedly DJing with up-tempo electronic music playing. The rest of the video is cats, of increasingly more iconic status and fame spliced with the dog viewer seeming to accept the cats' dancing. A narrative of winning over the audience with more and more showmanship and fame.

For PLZNO the cat becomes the beat, the backup to a series of saxophone solos. The PLZNO cat facilitates the artwork of others, allowing the sax to take the lead and the spotlight. The monotony and predictability of the cat's rhythm allows for more "out there" improvisation from the sax lead. The PLZNO clip ends with a drum solo from famed drummer Niel Pert. In a similar way to the CN clip, the narrative is a progression of more and more musical talent to win over the audience. PLZNO does not create a stand in for the viewer, and the cat is a stable repetitive structural force allowing for more famous humans to steal the show. CN makes the cats the stars allowing for more and more famous cats to take the spotlight, avoiding particularly famous or risky musical direction for a somewhat safe techno song that is in the background.

So we have two works that are quite similar in a lot of structural and thematic ways, released at almost the same time, with the same narrative and subject. What say you art critics? Which art is better?

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