Here’s my approach for films like Ho Tsz Wing’s Catgot: put on a pair of headphones, turn up the volume until the outside world is entirely drowned out, darken the room as much as possible, and play it on the biggest screen you can find. Don’t analyze it. Don’t ask yourself what it means. Just let it happen.
But since this is a blog, a little analysis is probably in order, if only reluctantly. Wing says Catgot is an attempt to abstract a fountain performance, a goal that’s probably most noticeable in the opening and closing moments of the short, where bursts of colour erupt from mouth-like rings. Within 30 seconds, though, Wing’s performance becomes something else entirely. The dance of dots at times resembles confetti, or spores floating in the breeze, or cells travelling through a bloodstream — they’re full of energy and vitality, alive for at least a few moments before either disappearing or bursting into new arrangements.
In a way, talking about it feels like talking about a fireworks display (which is maybe a better description of the film’s vibrant imagery, bursting forth, dancing in the air, and gently dissipating, only to be replaced by another burst). Sure, you can talk about the colours, the patterns that came together, the wonder of the thing, but talking about it has nothing on watching it.
I’ll just add this. The world is stressful — right now in particular, but also just in general. Sometimes the best thing you can do is shut out the outside world for a few minutes of pure audio-visual sensation. One of the best things about films like Catgot, which is to say films that communicate without conventional narratives or representational imagery or any of the things our brains love to latch onto and interpret, is that watching them forces you into their moment. When you’re in their worlds, there’s no past or future — it’s like an invitation to a flow state, if only for a few moments. Today Catgot is exactly what I needed to clear my head. Hopefully it’ll work for you, too.
dir: Ho Tsz Wing
syn: It is a 2D hand-drawn abstract animation using the music, “Catgot” by ISAN. The idea of the animation is to present a fountain performance in an abstract way.