SXSW Interactive 2013

#catvidfest: Is This the End of Art?


Nominations for the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis opened July 2012. One week, 7000 submissions and countless media stories later, what started as a small light-hearted event grew into a viral spectacle that raised public debate around the role of museums in an internet culture. We innocently thought we were tapping an internet phenomena but the context of a serious international art institution fueled a media frenzy around the event. Fractious questions were raised about the relevancy or ridiculousness of the event and the role of the curator in a crowd-sourced environment. Using #catvidfest as a case study, we will question what it means for a museum to reflect contemporary culture in the era of YouTube, explore the challenges traditional institutions face engaging online audiences and share what we learned from transforming a solitary online viewing experience into an real world social event. This session will include cat videos.

Related Media

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Are these videos significant cultural production or just cats in boxes?
  2. How do you transform a solitary online viewing experience into an real world social event?
  3. Can a serious organization learn to take itself less seriously?
  4. What does it mean for the museum to abdicate its role as the source of content and/or the cultural authority?
  5. How does a traditional institution reflect contemporary culture in the era of YouTube?



Scott Stulen, Project Director,, Walker Art Center

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.