Last Wednesday, October 19th, the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks issued a one year permit for Cathenge to be installed and exhibited at Patricia’s Green Park (Octavia and Fell streets, Hayes Valley). This is the green light, the permission, Cathenge has been waiting for! By October 31st 2022 Cathenge will be all finished and ready to receive the public.
Needless to say, the whole Cathenge Crew of collaborators and I are very excited. We are in the home-stretch of production. Many final tasks and finishing touches are being completed. The “Holofelinity Sound-Light Sculpture” is being refined and perfected. The base is being decorated with laser cut space cat themed motifs and metallic gilding. The cats are being given their final clear-coat of iridescent hi-gloss finish. So many details being coordinated, a concerted collaborative effort of a dedicated team of artists and technicians, an elaborate and meticulous vision on a monumental scale is being realized.
It has also been a concerted effort of SF City Officials from different departments, as well as engineers, insurance agents and other professionals to work through and process all the regulations, civic and legal requirements to bring a sculpture like this to the public. It is easy to take public artworks for granted, but behind the scenes; the large amount of administrative work required to produce them cannot be underestimated.
Here are photos and videos documenting the latest efforts of Cathenge in progress.
Transubstantiation, a power ascribed to the Eucharist within the Catholic Mass, transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It is to be noted that only that which IS the Lord Jesus Christ himself is transubstantiatied. In communion, neither Jesus’s loin cloth (technical name, “Perizoma”) nor his crown of thorns are tasted by the faithful – only his body and his blood. This is because transubstantiation only metamorphoses the body but does not transform the objects that belong to that body.
In the final days of the Cat Planet, the Cat Priestesses found themselves in a terrible predicament: Theirs was a power of transubstantiation dependent on a magical crystal, the “Orb of Holofelinity”, and if they could escape their doom through transubstantiation they could not take the Orb with them, and so they took a chance doing something that had been made taboo since time immemorial upon Lemewria: They chose to translate themselves into the Orb of Holofelinity itself. Doing this would shatter the Orb and also they could never return to their physical forms, but the most important thing – the power of Holofelinity – would be preserved. That power they would not allow the Reptilians to destroy.
A central motif throughout Arthur C. Clarke’s writings is the evolution of human consciousness through extraterrestrial – and seemingly divine – influences. In 2001: A Space Odyssey we are introduced to the “Monoliths”. These mysterious dark metallic oblong objects appear consequentially and seem to bestow a decisive blessing resulting in an evolutionary leap in consciousness: Immediately after touching the monolith in curiosity, the primitive early man (indeterminate hominid?) picks up the femur of a tapir and strikes his enemy dead: The use of tools.
Like the Monoliths of 2001, the Catoliths appeared on Earth mysteriously before the dawn of human civilization, before humans as we know ourselves existed. These were the shards of the Orb of Holofelinity that had transubstantiated from Lemewria to Earth. These shards were the Cat Priestesses themselves, the consciousness of the Cat Priestesses lived within these mighty crystals. The crystals took the form of tall, elegant, mystical cat statues that evoked the beautiful forms of the Lyran Cat Priestesses. The design of the Catolith Cat Statue of Cathenge is a replica of the ancient Catolith of the Cat Priestesses, the Catolith formed from the Orb of Holofelinity. The Catolith is the sacred icon of Holofelinity, Universal Cat Consciousness.
The Catoliths materialized on Earth at carefully chosen geographic coordinates that would amplify the Power of Holofelinity. There were only 9 Catoliths, and their locations are no longer certain – some may have been under the sea or deep within caves, but in Africa it was upon the banks of the Nile in Ancient Egypt that a Catolith stood. The Cat Priestesses, now consciousness bound to crystals, were pleasantly surprised by the pliability of life on Earth. Here was a primeval planet, beautiful, rich in resources, and with a pre-existing abundance of complex genetic diversity, yet no civilization whatsoever – all of Earth’s creatures were just animals.
The Cat Priestesses found that their minds could play here freely and that they could not only invest their consciousness into the life forms a round them and thereby experience physical existence once again, but that they could, using their minds, manipulate the DNA of all living things on Earth. This is how they became the animal headed Egyptian Gods. They melded the humanoid Lyran form (yes, lyrans were humanoid – but with feline characteristics) with animal forms – somewhat whimsically.
The Cat Priestesses created human beings to be the vessels of Lyran consciousness – their consciousness – and to fulfill the Lyran impulse to create physically. The early civilizations of Lemewria and Catlantis were formed by the humans newly mutated from an existing hominid race (like Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon). Cat Lords and Cat Priestesses were beautiful humans with cat heads and other feline characteristics. This drastic difference in morphology denoted their higher rank and power – they were the “gods” on Earth who carefully taught the newly created humans the arts of Civilization, and inculcated the Lyran ethos of beauty and pleasure before all else, and the practical principle of Holofelinity.
I’m running out of time for describing the practical use of Holofelinity, but I think that it is summed up well in this clip from “The Cat from Outer Space” (Disney, 1978);
In February we completed the “New Prototype Kittolith” and debuted it at the Space Cat Cavalcade. This 5′ tall Catolith was printed by Re3D in Houston, Texas. The sound and lights were created by Theremin Barney, Artur Pyrogovskyi, and Aaron Winette. In this video I am demonstrating the motion detection based sound/light interactivity that Barney engineered using passive infrared sensors. The cat itself is a speaker. A kind of transductive speaker is affixed to the perimeter wall of the cat statue and the entire plastic cat vibrates to produce the sound. The sounds are solfeggio tones that Artur programmed in a randomized cycle to be triggered by the voltage signal transmitted from Barney’s motion detection circuit. This is still a work in progress, but we are developing this system to be used in the ring of six Catoliths that will be installed at Patricia’s Green.
Today I printed out a small version of “Thanata” the Catolith of Death in sparkly blue-green irridescent PLA plastic. This is the first version of the Catolith that I’ve modeled with decorative surface embellishment. I modeled this in the subdivision surface modeler “Sculpt” of Cimema 4D 3D software. My intention is to use these surface details as the basis for painted decoration of the big Catoliths. This small print is a useful experiment in painting technique that can be applied on a much larger scale.
I’ve been running test prints of just the toe of the cat. First on the smaller Ender 3 printer with smaller size nozzle and now on the larger CR-10 S5 printer with correspondingly larger gauge of nozzle. I’ve modified this printer with a direct drive extruder and an improved bed heater. This is the first print I’ve done with the large printer. I am testing all of the parameters and specifications in preparation for replicating this with another 6 printers. There will be a total of seven printers dedicated to producing cathenge. I reckon one will be devoted to each section of the six height segments of the Catolith and the seventh for printing the divider components.
I’m setting up a print farm of 7 of these CR-10 S5 printers. This is the first one which I am testing modifications on. This printer has a 500*500*500 mm build space, however the stock print bed only heats a 300*300 area, so I have upgraded this with a 500*500 heat mat. I also added the crossbraces since I anticipate that as the print grows tall and the load heavy that the z-axis will need all the reinforcement it can get.
Next up: I will replace the bowden style extruder with a direct drive extruder for greater printing efficiency and capability.
I’ve opted to print Cathenge myself. It’s a big undertaking – typically people print something the size of an action figure, but it’s possible to do much larger things, and so I’m printing all 6 Catoliths. Doing the printing myself gives me the latitude to experiment with the design and the technique and that is essentially what artistic control is about.
I was able to source high quality yet inexpensive large format 3D printers (Creality CR-10 S5) which give me a 500*500*500 mm build space to work with. I am setting up seven of these printers at my studio in Stinson Beach. Using all seven printers at once I estimate I can produce one cat in 3 days. I’ll begin production of Catoliths by the second week of April and hazard to guess I’ll finish all six Catoliths within a month.
Of course, I get to keep the printers which opens up a whole new world of artistic possibilities for me. Building on my long experience in 3D modeling, I envision new “Crazyological” sculptures 3D printed and embellished with paint, lighting effects, interactivity and/or kinetics. It’s quite exciting!
On June 20th David Normal opened the Institute of Crazyology at 1000 Van Ness. The “Crazyology Inaugural Ball” celebrated the installation of the Cathenge Burning Man installation, and was a reunion and respite from the restrictions of the pandemic for the SF BMan and Cacophony Society crowd.
The photo gallery below are photos taken by San Francisco society/art photographer, Herman Privette, who did a fabulous job of documenting that evening’s proceedings.
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.