Caine’s Arcade

The following footage, of a little boy’s self-constructed fantasy arcade world, has been sweeping across the internet these past few days. Most people, from what I can tell, are attracted to the flash mob aspect — the fact that the filmmaker calls upon the hipster elite of Los Angeles, and their cleverly-named offspring, to venture into East L.A. and validate this kid’s vision, as though it weren’t beautiful and incredible on its own. My favorite part by far, however, was the introduction, in which the nine year old Caine Monroy shows the arcade pieces that he’s lovingly created from old cardboard boxes, packing tape and junk scavenged from his father’s used auto parts store. While I can see the appeal of the, “Hey, let’s make this quirky kid feel good about himself for a day” narrative, and I suspect the kid did get a thrill from all of the attention, I personally just liked looking at his work, which is better, and more honest, than anything I’ve seen come out of the art world in the past decade. Regardless of whether you share my opinion about the flash mob part being superfluous, I think you’ll agree that the kid is pretty awesome, and the folk art environment that he’s constructed is inspiring beyond belief… Watch it, and be happy… And let’s hope this kid keeps his enthusiasm and vision throughout his life.

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  1. Ken
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I think it is a very nice video. I hate that everything has to be turned into a reality TV show stunt just to be noticed.

  2. Edward
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Over a million people watched it, so I guess it worked. Caine’s Arcade is the new Kony 2012. I hope they catch this son of a bitch.

  3. Knox
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    They’re not seeing it as art. That’s the difference.

  4. Eel
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    This kid is awesome. Hopefully school, work, and all the rest of it doesn’t crush it out of him. As for the flash-mob part of the story, it didn’t bother me all that much. Still, though, I’d agree that highlight was watching the kid talking about his creations. I loved how he’d crawl into the boxes and push out the tickets.

  5. grandma
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    In a few years he could he be Clementine’s boyfriend!! I love Cain!!!!

  6. Anonymous Mike
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Caine isn’t real. He’s CGI.

  7. Elf
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    He was created by Acme Tape and Box.

  8. Alice Krum
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    We need clever kids like this in the Hunger Games.

  9. Tommy
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see this as folk art, or art in any way for that matter. This is a kid being a kid, creating a world of his own that gives him comfort and joy. What made me the happiest was his dad letting him explore, create, and expand this ‘world’. Reminds me of some old Little Rascals episodes! You should post these happy things every Friday morning … meanwhile the Ypsi Tax debate continues to devolve …

  10. Bird
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Yeah. I thought about Kony when I saw this video too.
    Maybe Caine will go batshit in the streets in just his underwear because of all the stress.

  11. Bob
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    God I hate the internet sometimes. We also did things like this a number of times as kids. We just called it relieving boredom, not art. I get what folk art is but it’s a kind of a terrible expression.

  12. Phyllis
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I guess some folks just don’t believe. This little guy is amazing. Not a product of TV, Internet and the like but using his imagination with the encouragement of his FATHER and lots of cardboard. A tremendous lesson here. He is smart but beyond that he has been parented. I really like that. God Bless them all!!!

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