Copy Cats

48 individual collages and HD projection
Exhibited for the first time at “Born Digital,” CAM Raleigh
January-April 2012


48 8×10 collages were created as stand-alone objects and as source material or “frames” for a 48-frame animation. The animation is projected on top of the collages in a grid-like pattern.

Below is a low-resolution excerpt of the video loop. This video was projected on top of the 40 8×10 collages:

And this is a detail showing an up-close excerpt of a portion of the video loop, where you can better see how the 40 8×10 collages make up the basis for this digital animation:

“Copy Cats is about the derivative nature of cultural ideas. In particular it investigates the shared cultural icon known as “the funny cat”–an icon that has many names, and has been mimicked over and over again throughout various historical, cultural and technological platforms. Before YouTube we watched cartoon cats, before cartoon cats we read stories about funny cats. The “funny cat” can thus be seen as a symbol for an un-owned cultural idea that is easily modifiable, re-useable, and re-mixable.

The constantly transforming image of the “copy cat” in Ciocci’s video installation is a metaphor for how cultural ideas exist today on the internet: authorship is secondary to the cleverness of the remix, an idea is valued based on how often it is shared. It should be remembered that the idea of the “copy cat” as a sociological process existed before the internet. But the web accelerates the process of “copying” and makes it more obvious and trackable. Ciocci visualizes his own personal experience of this cultural copying process as it relates to an image that has been in-escapable in his lifetime: the “funny cat”.

Ciocci has created a wall filled with colorful patterns–some rapidly change, others motionless reflections of their animated counterparts. Within the patterns are familiar cat faces: a crude animation of Garfield morphs into Felix, which sits next to an actual ripped page from the magazine “Cat Lovers”, the words “hang in there” barely visible off to the side. The more one stares at the wall the more a vision of an infinitely mutating, uncontrollable monster begins to overwhelm the viewer. This monster is not a single cat but the sum total of our collective memory of cats. The viewer is left with a portrait of both the beauty and ugliness of the monster known as “cultural activity”–an unstoppable, competitive game of signification that we all participate in, but which none of us can fully comprehend– a place where we express all of our latent desires through renderings of domestic animals.”