From 11:57 p.m. until midnight each night in February, tourists and New Yorkers gazing up at the billboards in Times Square will see a video of a cat “languidly” lapping milk and “observ[ing] the bustle of all that surrounds it with cool detachment, lounging in the heart of our metropolis,” according to the Times Square Alliance.
The cat is the subject of “Büsi (Kitty),” an excerpt from a 96-hour video created by artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss that premiered on a Times Square billboard in 2001, after the artists were asked to submit a clip for a video retrospective there.
The cat video “was not made as a discussion about kitsch,” Fischli said of the work.
“There was just something super-nice about this cat that we were attracted to…. [Weiss and I] both had the same idea: Why don’t we show the video with the cat?” he said.
“To do something that’s more spectacular than what’s going on in Times Square would be impossible. We wanted to do something very quiet and simple: it was a logical step for us,” he added.
Fifteen digital screens in Times Square have committed to showing “Büsi (Kitty)” for three minutes each night, in conjunction with Fischli and Weiss’ retrospective at the Guggenheim opening Feb. 5.
“This cat can easily represent the everyday triumph that any of us feel living in the density of this metropolis, taking one’s time amongst the frenzy of media messaging,” Times Square Arts director Sherry Dobbin said in a statement.
Büsi’s last night on the Times Square billboards will be Feb. 29.