Marina Abramocat

Cat Video by B. Wurtz at Triple Canopy is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: Way back in 1979, B. Wurtz proved that filmed felines are art.

On the last day of our all-video week, I present (drumroll, please), THE WORLD’S FIRST CAT VIDEO. It’s an art film, actually, called “The Meaning of Life”, shot by the artist B. Wurtz (yes, him again) in 1979 and newly mounted on the Triple Canopy Web site. (Click on the image to watch the film.) I can’t quite go to bat for this piece the way I could for the Wurtz video I DP’d on Monday, but I think its predictive power alone makes it art-historically notable. According to the old cliche, artists surf the zeitgeist before anyone else gets there – and here’s the ur-YouTube proof. (Yes, I know, Thomas Edison shot a short film of cats boxing back in 1894, but it was so stagey that it doesn’t really count as a precursor to the purely durational, observational cat videos that are the genre’s archetypal form. And I know that today’s DP is tempting fate, since other, earlier cat pieces are bound to come out of the woodwork. But will any of those prove, as this one does ipso facto, that cat videos are art?)

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