Over a thousand cat heads
To cope with the death of his cat, self-declared creative person Roeben Zwart made over a thousand drawings of cat heads. His website shows a selection, but also offers noise experiments and photos of ritual signs at over a hundred locations in the city.
For the cat heads, Zwart used various techniques, from ballpen drawings to woodcuts. In an email, he explains: “used to have a black cat i loved.. died in 2005 of a stomach tumour.. was very tough.. in order to get round the pain, i started drawing cat heads in all kinds of formats and styles.. made altogether over a thousand of them in numerous variations.. this helped me cope with my cat’s death.. the majority of the drawings were made during the first two years after its death.. now i occasionally make a cat head but the necessity is gone.. the grieving process has had its course..”
In addition to cat heads, the site offers photos of ritual signs painted across the city, a description of a noise machine called Little Bastard and a page where visitors can mix noise tracks. “themes come and go at the site.. in that respect, there’s no logic in it.. so far, only the cat heads have been a constant factor at the website.. apart from that, it’s a sort of sandbox to mess around with web design..”
Little Bastard “evolved from the process of creating a handy small device that produces a lot of noise and fits easily in a jacket pocket.. after having made all kinds of small noise machines, it became a kick to make them smaller and smaller until they had a size of about 2 cm.. the noise this little bastard produces is very limited but the challenge was to make it as small as possible..”
“for real good distortion, the device has to be larger, even though it can still be much smaller than commercial distortion devices such as guitar pedals.. the fun of making one yourself is that a small device can produce more noise than regular guitar pedals.. although those guitar pedals are very strong whereas a self-made noise machine is fragile and breaks easily..”
In addition to the work he publishes on his own website, Zwart does web design for a number of other websites, including activist webzine Ravage Digitaal. The latter job has gotten him into trouble: two years ago, he was arrested after a complaint about a column at the website. The case has since been dropped.
“other than that, i live like a hermit in amsterdam.. used to be active in the noise scene but that turned out to harm my health.. often get an attack of migraine when i hear loud noise and my hearing has been impaired..”