Cathenge Prototype in David Normal Studio Spring 2019

This 3D printed Catolith prototype “Kittolith”. Printed by Christopher Christensen. This prototype features motion activated interactive purring by Theremin Barney. Ultimately, we settled on touch sensitivity through “Capacitive Sensing” as the mechanism of interactivity for the large Catoliths at Cathenge, Black Rock City 2019.

Photos by Dennis Helladanko and Damon Bivianos

Los Angeles photographers, Dennis Helladanko and Damon Bivianos, documented Cathenge with these stunning photos.

Cat Priestess Saya dances at Cathenge!

Installation creator David Normal at Cathenge.

David Normal with Cat Priestesses at Catolith Fortuna with a cocked head.

Catolith and Burn Brazier

A lone Catolith with Burn Brazier in the foreground. The Burn Braziers were created by flame effects artist, Brad Allen, using WWII era propane tanks that are spherical. Brad cut these tanks in half to create monumental hemispherical braziers that provided an “eternal flame” type effect that greatly enhanced the sacrosanct atmosphere of the Cathenge Cat Temple at Burning Man 2019. The thickly dusty atmosphere shows clearly the beams of light shooting forth from the eyes of the Catolith – an important part of the Cathenge concept; emulating the cats shooting lasers from their eyes internet meme.

Cathenge by Night! – Burning Man 2019

A view of Cathenge at night with all the Catoliths aglow, their Cat Chakras expressing the power of Holofelinity. In the center can be seen Brad Allen’s three Burn Braziers inviting people to gather around their elegant light and their nurturing warmth.

Cathenge the Cat Temple at Burning Man 2019

Cathenge at Black Rock City silhouetted in the setting sun upon the playa of the Black Rock Desert. The Catoliths stand in a 100′ diameter circle around the central platform where the three mighty propane burn braziers built by Brad Allen are mounted. A scaffold for shibari (Japanese Rope Bondage) was erected by Los Angeles rope artist, Argent Lloyd. Photo by Gurps Chawla.

Cathenge Scale Model at Decompression 2018

This was the initial 3D printed scale model of Cathenge. Printed by Christopher Christensen. This photo shows the model on display at Burning Man Decompression SF in the fall of 2018. My painting, “Succubus”, can be seen in the background.

Catoliths and Interactive Solfeggio Sound Effects

The effect I’d like to achieve with the Catoliths is similar to a set of windchines. Motion detection creates the chiming of the Catoliths. Each cat has an infrared sensor mounted in its chin and facing downward. This creates a cone of interactivity wherein a visitor to Cathenge will hear the cats “intone” their respective notes. Additionally, triggering one cat will trigger notes in the other cats (ideally, this is a random or semi-random pattern).

Six Catoliths

Thanata = 396hz = DO = Tonic C = Saturn

Fortuna = 417hz = RE = D = Jupiter

Lyrata = 528hz = MI = E = Mars

Erotica = 639hz = FA = F = Earth

Lunata = 741 = SO = G = Venus

Solara = 852 = TI = A = Mercury

The above equivalencies connect each catolith to a specific solfeggio frequency. Above (396 – 852) is the solfeggio scale used in Gregorian chanting.

Gregorian Chant:

 Because planets with larger eccentricities have a greater variation in speed they produce more “notes.” Earth’s maximum and minimum speeds, for example, are in a ratio of roughly 16 to 15, or that of a semitone, whereas Venus’ orbit is nearly circular, and therefore only produces a singular note. Mercury, which has the largest eccentricity, has the largest interval, a minor tenth, or a ratio of 12 to 5. This range, as well as the relative speeds between the planets, led Kepler to conclude that the Solar System was composed of two basses (Saturn and Jupiter), a tenor (Mars), two altos (Venus and Earth), and a soprano (Mercury), which had sung in “perfect concord,” at the beginning of time, and could potentially arrange themselves to do so again.

Musica universalis (literally universal music), also called Music of the spheres or Harmony of the Spheres, is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin term for music). This “music” is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic, mathematical or religious concept.

The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists. Further scientific exploration has determined specific proportions in some orbital motion, described as orbital resonance. – Ref: Wikipedia

Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

– Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice