thesis, week4 progress

This week I finished my 3d model of the cat and got some advice from Danny Rozin for creating a work flow to turn the 3d design into shapes to lasercut. I did my first test with acrylic, testing different grip hole sizes for the servo motors and the acrylic binding solution. I plan to pick up some plastic and cut the first prototype this week. I also got the JeeNode in the mail, an Arduino made by Modern Device and Jean-Claude Wippler, basically an Arduino with built in radio communication. I’ll build the board and begin testing this week.

I also watched the anime Cat Soup which was suggested in class by someone a couple of weeks ago. It is a really great short and it gave me a lot of ideas for doing narrative with minimal dialog. I watched some other animation shorts without dialog but wasn’t as inspired.

I finished a rough outline of the story as well. It still has a lot of parts that need to be tied together. Right now the narrative references too many characters and goes in too many directions, but I think I can start to put things together and simplify over the next week by beginning to write dialog and stage directions. I’ve thought a lot about using the human performers as characters—I want to use them as more than just video game playing drones, but I don’t think I want to give them actual lines. I’m uncomfortable getting that close to a theatre performance. I decided I would rather just have them use some simple movements to establish the beginning of a scene—maybe lying down like they’re going to sleep—to frame the cat stories.

I made some more arduino synth music this week too. I’m getting closer to the actual voice I want to use.

I read some more Derrida this week. His description of his relationship with his cat is very compelling. He talks about being naked in front of the cat and how the concept of naked probably doesn’t exist for animals. I definitely want to explore those themes and differences in my story. I have also been pushing myself to look more into cat culture online. Although I write and talk a lot about cats, I’m not actually someone who spends that much time looking at them online—I’m not a big social media person, so I don’t see these things on the facebook or reddit or other places like that. People do send me a fair amount of cat stuff, like this really nice article Ann sent me this week. Anyway, I made myself watch more cat stuff, including videos of cats pooping into toilets.

Here is the plot outline ive been working on. Right now there a bunch of loose ends, things that need to be fit together. I’m starting to write the individual scenes which I think will make it clear how to fit all the threads together.

beware the cat

3 scenes

scene 1
– human characters enter
– male hands box to the female
– they sit on a bench together for a while or something
– they go to the “stage” and lights come up on cat stage
– cat 1 enters, controlled by a person (male or female?)
– cat 1 confused, doesn’t know where it is (scene?)
– cat 2 enters, cat 1 freaks out, it has never seen another robot cat
– they eventually introduce themselves, and talk about their impressions of each other’s owners
– cat 2 is an older version, maybe made out of wood, or different colors of plastic – cat 1 is newer, has shiny fancy plastic, higher voice, moves faster maybe
– cat 2 tells cat 1 the story about a man who owned the last real cat (maybe this information is relayed later), the man goes on a quest to build robot cats
– in the first part of the story, the man comes upon a cat scientist who experiments on cats, but discovers that his experiments are basically torture
– cat 1 is freaked out by the story
– the lights go out, because the humans have gone to sleep

scene 2
– humans lying on the ground next to each other or something, they get up, go to their stations, maybe spend a beat staring at each other or something
– cat 2 continues the story, in the second part, the man encounters another person who has sex with cats, the man is horrified
– cat 1 begins to ask questions about how cat 2 knows the story
– cat 2 explains another story, that of the last real cat in the world
– much like cat 1, the last real cat lived with a person and didn’t know there were other cats in the world
– the person buys a robot cat, the last real cat freaks out, he doesn’t know that he’s not a robot
– the robot doesn’t speak cat language, and the real cat eventually figures out its a robot (how?)
– the last real cat writes a hieroglyphic cat language thing for future generations to know about the end of cats
– cat 2 tells cat 1 that human 2 didn’t realize human 1 spent all day on his computer writing about the end of the world as a pseudonym
– cat 1 says human 1 didn’t know that human 2 spent most of the day sleeping

scene 3
– cat 2 finishes origin story of robot cat, cat guy finds final place, where guy is a dog person, he is also creating robot dogs in his basement. guy falls in love with a girl there. guy makes a robot cat, and the old guy freaks out and kicks him out, he finds out his cat is dead and kills himself, the girl finds his brother and they recreate shitty version of cat
– cat 1 begins to ask cat 2 more questions about the story, who told it to him etc. somehow is revealed that it was actually a robot cat who faked the cat hieroglyphic language as a joke for some reason?
– cat 1 tells cat 2 about the apocalypse stuff, and how human 2 doesn’t believe it, the extinction of animals is the beginning of the apocalypse, people are creating their own destruction
– human 2 thinks that the world has always been part of an apocalypse
– there is a question of whether the robot cat was the real hoax writer or if it was programmed by the person who created it
– the human couple breaks up because the owner of cat 1 is too paranoid, cat 1 never learns the true origin of robots

background on people
– they’re in a relationship and decide to move in together
– one is a conspiracy theorist, believes the death of real cats is a omen for the end of the world


Author: owen ribbit


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