Family Timeline

Game Instructions (Targeted game experience)

Share images of you and your family featuring your pet over a long period of time. (in this case, my partner and his cat over a 10 year period)

Have the game master (in this case, me) distort the images such that only the pet is clear.

Shuffle the images!

Have the player(s) attempt to reorder the distorted images chronologically.

Finally, reveal the correct order to the player(s).

By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

With this last created experimental game experience, I wanted to celebrate cats (and other pets) as family members. Through my journey of involving cats in my art, I have only grown to love and appreciate my cats and their various personalities all the more. I wanted to evoke in my targeted players the nostalgia of past experiences with cats, and share my love for cats with the players. The Family Timeline game I created uses various stages to accomplish this. This game was inspired by artworks created in the way of Appropriation, inspired by the Dada movement’s influence on appropriation, and artists who were inspired by the movement such as Andy Warhol and his borrowing and modifying (appropriating) readymade images of unique American icons. I take existing images, edit them, shuffle them, and use them as the medium for which to provide an experience of nostalgia. Firstly I acquired lots of images from the players, the images need to be scattered over a long period of time and include at least one person with the same cat throughout the years. I chose to make this targeted experience for my partner, so he and his parents looked through albums to find suitable images to share with me. This experience in itself is the biggest point of nostalgia, since it urges the players to look through albums of their past with their pets (in this case, cats). Afterwards, I took a handful of the images given to me and edited them such that the only clear aspect of the images is the cat in each one. Then I shuffled the edited images and asked that the players try to order them chronologically primarily using the cat as a point of reference. Ideally this would be done as a card game, with all of the photo edits laid out in front of the player such that they can clearly look at each of them at the same time. Unfortunately, my playtests were all conducted digitally in the format of a Google Form (available here) such that it was more easily available to the players who were not presently with me. This provided limitations in how I presented the images and how they were answered. I hope to reconduct playtests for this project over the next month to test different edits of images and different playing mediums, because I feel that the game held a lot of potential in portraying my desired messages of pets being a significant part of a family experience, and I can stand to improve this version further. I would also like to note that the form I am sharing is available for anyone to try to play, but obviously won’t accomplish the same results when played by people who both have no history with the pet in question, and did not have an opportunity to relive the nostalgia of searching through photo albums.

Below are the images I used in creating my experience ordered correctly. They are answer keys, please do not inspect if you wish to blindly try Family Timeline via the form shared above!


HeatCat Tracker

Intervention Artwork:

Create an educated guess/hypothesis as to where your cat would spend its time in your domicile with you in its environment

Repeat step one but for when you are not in your home

Track and record the location of your cat over some decided amount of time with you in your home

Repeat step three but without you in its environment

Create visual representations of the collected data (I prefer a heatmap for visual aid)

Compare your findings to your hypotheses

By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

I’ve always wondered what indoor cats do when you remove human stimulation, and this artwork offered me the perfect opportunity to finally uncover the truth behind what my cat does “behind closed doors.” I’ve created a piece which displays how my own interactions with my cat will influence it’s decisions, in almost a scientific way. This piece was (once again) inspired by my cats and my incessant love for them, but also my understanding of how cats adapt their behavior for humans specifically. For example, cats are not known to meow at each other, if anything this is a behavior which only appears between mother and kitten, but not among full-grown cats. I want to know more about my cats behaviors, and especially understand the variations between their behavior around me versus alone. Thus “HeatCat Tracker” came to life, with the goal to learn about my cat’s behavior differences! I created hypotheses for where my cats would prefer spending their time and made diagrams to better visualize my assumptions, then I recorded and tracked their actual locations both with me around and without me in the apartment. Initially, I tried using a cat GPS tracker for accurate readings on my cats location without me in the apartment, however this proved unsuccessful since GPS is accurate outdoors, not indoors. My cats are entirely indoor cats, so I had to swap to a more DIY approach. I literally recorded (with a motion detecting video camera that works in the dark) my cat over the course of a few days with and without me around. chose a few time intervals to work with, and used this information to create a more accurate (not most accurate) reading of my cat’s location throughout the apartment.

HeatCat tracker took inspiration from a number of works discussed and shown in lectures. The idea of using tracking or location as a main feature of my artwork was perhaps unexpectedly from a game which also attempts to track players throughout their adventure: Uncle Roy All Around You. Though my game is set strictly within my domicile and only involved my cat, the idea of using location in general as the main data point used in this artwork came from Uncle Roy. I was also inspired by discussions of other animal interventions such as the store alarm cockroaches which used roaches dressed in capes containing material that set off store alarms to, well, set off store alarms. This artwork is also fitting of the Fluxus movement’s focus on chance and randomness, as my heatmap outcome will change every time I record new information of my cats location, and once again leaves the outcome in control of a cat, rather than the person creating the heatmap. I’ve included images depicting my process below, including the failed attempt at using the GPS tracker.

heatmap of cat location hypothesis (with humans)

My hypothesis of my cat’s location with me active in the apartment.

heatmap of cat location hypothesis (without humans)

My hypothesis for where my cat would be without me in the apartment

cat location heatmap with humans in apartment

observed location of cats with humans in the apartment. (similar activity to without, but more concentrated around the two bedrooms)

cat location heatmap without humans in apartment

observed location of cats without humans in the apartment. (mostly sleeping within eyeshot of the apartment entrances).

failed GPS tracker heatmap of cat location

The entirely inaccurate data collected by a GPS (shows cats outside of apartment, which is impossible for strictly indoor cats)

Better Toys

Appropriation Game Rules:

Collect toys or items intended for your pet’s use, which either your pet does not use, or has used to a point of destruction.

Sit with another player (they are welcome to bring their own objects to incorporate) and lay out all of the objects in front of you.

Collaborate with the other player to repurpose the objects by using them to create a new pet toy.

Take turns with the other player, each either incorporating one item at a time, using your turn to change an existing item’s position or to change an item’s shape (cut, break, or other). Order can be determined beforehand or organically by whoever is inspired first.

Once all of the items have been incorporated, the game is over.

If your pet plays with your creation, you win!

By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

In my continued journey to conjure artworks, projects, and games somehow related to cats, I have turned to the toys associated with them. Though I later generalized it to be a game playable with any pet, “Better Toys” is a game partially inspired by my cats’ favorite and least favorite toys, and my urge to throw the unused toys away. The said unused toys are still perfectly usable, so what better way to reuse these toys than to transform them and give the new toy back to the pets? To better explain, “Better Toys” is a game in which two players collect items of their pets (unused or disliked items are encouraged), work together to combine all of the toys or items into a new toy, and put the new toy to the test against your pet. If your pet plays with the newly made toy, you win! The point of the game is obviously to have fun with friends and pets, but also to bring attention to the fact that anything can be a toy, and buying fancy ones is often unnecessary for your pet’s purposes. For example, I had bought a puffy bell toy for my cat which never got used, instead she tore the shoelaces off of some old pair of converse I was planning on throwing away which have since become the preferred toys by far.

Now that I’ve sufficiently accredited my cats as my inspiration, I turn to my main inspiration for this game: Duchamp and his ready-mades. For his ready-mades (like the Hat Rack from 1917 and Bottle Rack from 1914), Duchamp would take completely common or uninteresting industrial goods, and display them in a boring, “useless” and non practical way. He contested beauty in this way, which frustrated him as he found over time all of his displays would end up perceived as beautiful. I’ve strived to use Duchamp’s same process for a different inverted purpose of turning the useless into something useful. The finished product should turn out to be unique from other pet toys, but still share the same initial purpose of the toy, transforming it in the opposite way that Duchamp meant to transform his works. See below for some examples of iterations for this game!


New toy created by classmates given items my cats show little interest in.

Cat immediately interested, sniffing, and scratching.

Cat integrating himself into the finished product created by classmates… They win!


Second iteration, items collected, setup completed.

Cat interacting with second completed toy… Victory here as well!


The Playful Cat Collab


Play with your pet on some cardboard or preferred destructible material.

Let them have fun and damage said material!

Use any markings as dot/line guides to follow for painting.



By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

The Playful Cat Collab is a game of creating art with your cat, primarily motivated by my love for… well, cats… but with the obligatory emotional cat-lady reason out of the way, my artwork was heavily inspired by the Fluxus movement and some of John Cage’s philosophies. Specifically, my artwork takes inspiration from the Fluxus’ use of chance and randomness, John Cage’s ideas of unintentionality, and his desire to make anyone an artist. Anyone who takes part in following my score would have become an artist by the end, and they would do so using the randomness generated by their cat’s destruction of a particular material. This follows Cage’s belief in balancing the constraints (of following your cat’s lead in this case) and freedom of what you do with said constraints, as well as his belief that the player of this game would become the artist (Pearce, C. “Games As Art”).

The game itself is simple, play with your cats and use whatever leftover chaos your cat has created as a guide for your painting. My goal for players who follow this score is to bond with your cat, let loose and follow your cat’s lead, have fun experiencing your cat doing what they do best (chaos), and be proud of something that you created. In addition to the obvious random guide generation caused by the involved cat, since the rules are so simple it’s overall a highly variable game. You could use cardboard, tissue paper, paper, fabric, paint, markers, crayons, charcoal, etc. as your project materials, which will guarantee an entirely different result each time you repeat this process with your cat. Below are a couple pictures on both the process of completing this game, and the results for each iteration. Note the differences in both projects, though following the same instructions, caused by the difference in cat interactions and materials.

cat bribery

Coaxing my cat to my desired material with catnip

cat interaction

Cat interacting with the chosen material

cat finished product

The cat’s finished product, now it’s my turn

fully finished product

Fully painted a finished product

cats playing with tissue paper

Cats creating the painting guides on tissue paper

Tissue paper finished product

Scanned tissue paper and reprinted in B&W such that it is easier to follow guidelines