Ima Put a Computational Hex on You Too: Cats and Freefall

Shaka McGlotten

for Lauren

I take a lot of footage on my phone thinking about berry witchy, berry queer algorithms because it’s easier than typing. I don’t even have to put down my glass.

I shoot images of: Disney+’s Loki and Netflix’s Cat People, both engineered to my specs: complicated puss. Technically, Loki is a god, not a witch, but his Marvel Cinematic Universe story is going to be closely intertwined with that of Scarlet Witch, a super witch, and Dr. Strange, a sorcerer. We can get into the weeds if you want, but the differences between god, witch, sorcerer are a little fuzzy, especially when we start talking multiverse. They can all shoot energy bolts from their hands, so. (And no, the Marvel heroes don’t make cameos in Cat People.)

Cats are witches’ most recognizable familiars. Now my partner and I have a black cat on top of Crunchy the Cat: Purr Bear

He and his littermates were rescued by our friends from drowning in their Austin backyard during that big storm in 2020. He’s got a black nose, black lips, and black jelly bean paw pads. His yellow eyes and gray fur gills help render him visible; he’s otherwise so silky black, I have to find my glasses if I want him high-res legible.

To recap. Loki is a witch (um), number one. Number two, cats haz witches | witches haz cats because the Internet haz cats | cats haz Internet. Cat People is Internet, cat people “R” us designing cat walls to spec after watching it and favoriting pricey cat wall kits on Etsy.

I also take video footage of dancer-turned-designer Iris van Herpen’s most recent collection, Autumn/Winter 2021, dubbed “Earthrise.”

Van Herpen marries haute couture with high tech, using, amongst much else, 3D design and printing techniques. She is especially influenced by architecture and nature. Earthrise, like prior collections, is biophilic, the shapes of the clothing (if that’s even the right designation) evoke birds, coral, mermaids, octopuses. If I was a rich witch, I would carry, petals bouncing like fashion at Fern Gully.

In the accompanying editorial film, models stand on mountaintops, as if conducting a ritual, arcing their bodies and leaping, swishing their dresses, sleeves, capes. Scale-like volumes of some unknown material inflate and deflate like the breath while Evgueni Galperine’s score builds, lifted by Tsunaina’s etheric supporting vocals.

Five minutes in, things pause.

Inhale, exhale.

If others were earth witches (stone) or water witch (fishy), now we have ourselves a sky witch, world champion sky diver Domitille Kiger. Witch, that bitch jumped out of the plane in bespoke Van Herpen!

We’re above the earth, with her, soaring against planes of blue and white. At first, it’s hard to tell whether we’re rising or falling. We’re above the earth. We’re definitely falling. I can hardly write, much less watch, without weeping at it. I’ve been in freefall—this last year hexed me bad. I gulp tears at the freedom of abandon in freefall too.

Anima fucking mundi.

To Be Continued…

All content © 2020