Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Kitty - A Napping Tale by Jackie Zhu and Sanpo Matsumoto

There is a famous American short story from the 1930s called "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."  In this story a very ordinary guy leads a very active fantasy life.  Throughout the day, during his various boring activities, he imagines himself as a brave and daring soldier, a spy, a fireman etc.  His fantasy life seems to make his ordinary life bearable.  In fact, this story was recently made into a Hollywood movie (I remember seeing ads for it back in December).

There was a show recently at a gallery in New York (Resobox Gallery) that was based on the theme of 'monsters'.  It was actually called the Kaiju Exhibition. Kaiju means 'monster' in Japanese but the kaiju monster is meant to be a huge Godzilla-like creature.  

A couple New York based artists - Jackie Zhu and Sanpo Matsumoto - created a little humorous video for this show.  I mentioned Walter Mitty before because another title for the brief video could have been "Walter Kitty" - if you watch the video you'll see what I mean.

I think Jackie and Sanpo did a wonderful job of creating such a whimsical contribution to the kaiju tradition! I mean, what makes the life of a domesticated cat bearable?  Do you think that when they sleep all day their minds are inactive?  No! Cats evolved from ferocious feral creatures, so perhaps their fantasy lives can be just as fertile as Walter Mitty's.  While they are sleeping, epic battles determining the courses of civilizations are occurring.

Or, within every Walter Mitty maybe there resides the making of a true hero.  At the end of this video we see that the little kitty still may have an opportunity to put his morphing and fighting skills to use.

Or, did you ever hear that infamous quote: "Only a good guy with a gun can protect us from a bad guy with a gun?"  I have a feeling the kitty in this video would agree somewhat with this sentiment but change the quote to: "Only a transformed and beefed up kitty can protect New York City from a giant evil bi-pedal fish set on destruction!"

But, when you think of it, are the motives of this cat so altruistic?  It looks to me as if this kitty just likes adventure and is eager to wrestle with any big challenger.  Maybe this kitty gives us an insight into all super-hero monster-killers.  Do we need a cadre of adrenaline-junkie monster-fighters at the ready for possible gigantic threats to our society?  What are the true motives of giant killers?  Maybe St. George wasn't so interested in saving the innocent maiden as he was in tackling the impossible. 

By the way, in the interests of full disclosure, Jackie happens to be a buddy of mine, as well as a first rate illustrator and artist.

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