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Cathenge
Photograph: Courtesy David Normal

A massive "Cathenge" is being unveiled in San Francisco with glowing feline monoliths

This outcropping of cat stones is a mysterious sight.

Erika Mailman
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Erika Mailman
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It's epic, it's timeless, it has pagan origins...it's CATHENGE! Wait, what?

This incredible multi-sensory "Sound-Light Sculpture" installation is now installed in Patricia’s Green in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. The work of art by David Normal was previously inaugurated at Burning Man (2019 and 2021). Patricia's Green often hosts pieces from the playa afterward. Brought here by the San Francisco Arts Commission, "Cathenge" is a feat of 3-D printing, with six colossal nine-foot feline figures—cat meets monolith. (They're also called 'Catoliths.')

Cathenge will be around for free viewing for a year—the ribbon cutting happens 6-10pm on Dec. 2. The installation also includes a sound component that is activated by the motion of the viewer. The cats glow serenely at night with blue and purple hues. Wearing black choker necklaces, they are evocative of Siamese cats with a 1960s vibe. There's also a space/alien feeling with these otherworldy beasts. In fact, the podium each sits on is "decorated with laser cut space cat themed motifs and metallic gilding," according to the arts commission.

The ribbon cutting and art reception is part of the Hayes Valley Holiday Stroll which also includes a cat priestress fashion show. When Time Out spoke with Normal, he was working on more laser cut space cat stencils to adorn the pedestals and paused (paw'sed?) to explain that the sound component issued by the installation is harmonic purring.

"It's a soundbath of holofelinity, which is universal cat consciousness," says Normal. "The soundbath uses tones of Gregorian chanting with intrinsic healing depth that resonates and vibrates metaphysical layers of one's being."

And...why cats? "Because as Leonardo da Vinci said, 'All cats are beautiful.' Beauty is the intersection of compassion and awareness, and cats express deep empathy with humans," says Normal. "When they dream, they're using their minds to affect the world around them."

Sounds like this is an art installation that shouldn't be missed.

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