Professor Noah Travis Phillips
Internet Art Cultures
April 8th, 2021
Exploratory Writing 2B
When considering Richard Dawkins' definition and inclusion of memes being these imitated things ranging from fashion, to melodies, to abstract beliefs, I'm brought back to this idea that memes have far too much power for their own good. Limor Shifman goes into how not only can memes themselves have that conversational power, but the conversation about studying, quantifying, and measuring the memes, or memetics, is just as powerful and controversial. This whole idea of memeing and meme theory feels like a meme spiral, which I think is a good way to look at how a meme actually works. They spread and change constantly just because each new person who sees it has the opportunity to bring their own personal remix to it. A pretty insane and very weird video that gets into more conspiracy about meme power and how it can spiral is the video MEME Theory: How Donald Trump used Memes to Become President by EmpLemon on YouTube. As far-fetched as we want something like this to seem, people are actually voting for dogs as mayors repeatedly and filling the bubble for random people on ballots just because of an inappropriate name. At the end of the day, it is all ultimately a meme about memes.
It is entertaining, contagious, and continuously bent to feel new again.
In terms of using memes to study and understand Internet culture, I agree with Limor's statement that they are a match made in heaven. Because of the participatory culture that goes into the actual definition and creation of a meme, they can become a reflection of the Netizens, or the people using the internet, rather than the internet alone which to me perfectly captures what internet cultures are, especially in this creative and spreading realm. Due to the consistency in the platform interfaces which we use today, it is only natural that netizens turn to remixing what they can to keep the creativity spiraling.
The idea presented by Emily Gosling that there is a blurred separation between online and physical finally put into words how the presence of the internet has changed and become engrained so deeply in our modern culture. But more importantly I think is the definition that Olia Lialina provides for Net Artist:
I’m not just making something interactive, or interesting visuals for the web. All my work is about being connected—it’s about everything that happens behind the browser rather than what you can see in the window, and that can’t exist if you’re disconnected.
This explanation provides me a great understanding of the Net Art System Diagrams we reviewed in class about how these things happen between the screens and only with full connectivity.
The way that Lialina approaches her preservation and archival of the net art for the past is very similar to how historical print documents and photos are. The process seems gentle in trying to keep functionality and links alive, and the pressure of mobile and move away from sitting behind a desktop is becoming challenging in maintaining all of those functions and keeping the art really living. Making web and net design so accessible is also causing it to lose its personality, and the beauty of the actual net art and coding is lost.