Like most big, multi-day cons, this last weekend at WorldCon in Montreal is impossible to sum up. So I won’t even try.
Instead, what sticks with me are all of the meaty ideas that floated out of the event. Some, of course, wafted out of panels.* But great ideas lilted around the dealer’s floor, too. Or in the halls. Or bars. Or in the elevator line. Nothing can replace meatspace interactions between people, no matter how much we rely on social networks.
Online forums have many equally fulfilling uses, mind. And I’m about to try to tap into one of them. At Saturday morning’s “SF and the Arts” panel, the conversation shifted to a discussion about the iconography that makes a piece of visual art sell. Cats are a huge seller. As are animals with wings. Cats with wings fly of the shelves like, erm, cats with wings.
Taking that as a given, the question is simple: why?
I’m not looking for an argument about how winged cat art is aesthetically bankrupt. Its lovers are more than welcome to hang whatever they want on their walls. Fans of a genre that features spaceships, half-naked women and/or dragons shouldn’t throw stones.
I’m more interested in the emotional state that cats or winged animals evoke in enough people that they will dig out their wallets. What aspect of the human condition does this imagery speak to? And what new iconography could evoke the same response? Is it, as Mary Robinette Kowal
suggested, otters with mermaid tails? Or is that making the substitution too direct?
* Speaking of, I’m sorry (for relative values of the term) to have missed this one
4 thoughts on “Talking cats, with wings”
I've always wondered about this. How can anyone consider that winged cats would IN ANY WAY be desireable? It's bad enough to have them get underfoot, imagine them dropping from the sky. Or killing birds in flight. Ugh.
I agree. Terrestrial cats are enough of a pain in the behind. Wings would make it worse. And I say this as one who likes cats.
The surrealist collage maker on the panel, Frank Roger, mused that he could add a "with wings for $2" option to his work. Which could be fun.
But why cats with wings? What does it mean?
I don't really understand the whys of winged cats, but I have two that I hang on the Christmas tree every year. But then I also have cats drinking martinis on the tree.
Wonder what THAT means?
Combining two symbols of freedom/independence = cool^2?