This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Minneapolis • The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis tested the boundaries of legitimate art with a film festival devoted to the online cat videos that pervade YouTube and social networks.
It's not unheard of for some cat videos to rack up as many as 50 million YouTube views. Most are simple: a cat tries and fails to jump into a cardboard box, or makes a ridiculously cute noise while eating a spoonful of sour cream. Some are more cinematic, with tricky angles, animated graphics, mood music and other tricks of the filmmaking trade.
Organizers of Thursday night's festival said they wanted to find out whether the private experience of viewing the videos online would translate to a shared and social experience when shown on an outdoor screen on the museum's grounds.
The festival made room for various kinds of cat videos, with categories for comedy, drama, foreign, animated, musical, art-house and documentary. Participants voted on a "People's Choice" award, and several "lifetime achievements" were handed out to a few of the all-time popular videos.
Organizers say what started as a lark quickly took on bigger dimensions when they got thousands of submissions for the festival.