The (political) power of memes has moved beyond virtual images. The distinction between the virtual and ‘real life’ no longer applies, or perhaps was never really there. Their effects (or should we say affects?) are moving through digital infrastructures, policy, regulations, and bodies. If memes are used as a tool by the alt-right to mobilize people to storm the Capitol and play a substantial role in the Ukrainian war, can they also be used by the left to spark a revolution, as memetic warfare is more immediate and accessible than real-life demonstrations? What kind of labor would that require? What kind of tools and principles would we need? And what if memetic logics of spreading information were applied to spread progressive ideas for a possible future?
On the 11th of November, INC invites various theorists, researchers, journalists, activists, designers, and other creatives and thinkers to critically reflect on the tacticality of memes. During a one-day conference at Spui25, we dive into meme activism & political warfare, meme design & labor, and speculative memes & imaginaries. The Memes Beyond the Image Conference is also the launch of the Critical Meme Reader #2: Memetic Tacticality, which is edited by Chloë Arkenbout and Laurence Scherz.
This conference is free of charge, takes place at Spui25 in Amsterdam, and is also live-streamed.
Register here: https://spui25.nl/programma/memes-beyond-images
- Introduction by Chloë Arkenbout and Laurence Scherz
Meme Activism & Political Warfare
- The Power of Cuteness and the Cuteness of Power: Fandom Governance in China within the Covid-19 Crisis, by Jamie Wong
- Russian Digital Warfare Narratives (and Counter-Narratives) on TikTok: On Propaganda in Hyper-Affective and Ambiguous Spaces, by Marloes Geboers and Elena Pilipets
- Benevolent Edgelords: Specters of Benjamin and Memetic Ambiguity, by Pierre d’Alancaisez
Meme Design & Labor
- Memes in the Gallery: A Party Inside an Image Ecology, interview with Cem A. (Freeze Magazine) by Marijn Bril
- EVERY MEME MAKER WE KNOW IS EXHAUSTED, round table talk with Anahita Neghabat, Caren Miesenberger, Savriël Dillingh, Jasmine Erkan, and Emma Damiani, moderated by Laurence Scherz
- Capitalist Realism Meme Translation, interview with Annebel Breij by Idil Galip
Speculative Memes & Imaginaries
- Memes as Speculative Dialectic Images, a conversation between Geert Lovink and Marc Tuters
- The Rise and Fall of Web4U (2033-2063), performance by Jasmine Erkan and Emma Damiani
- Like a Virus, by Daniel de Zeeuw, Tommaso Campagna and Eleni Maragkou
- ‘Then We Could Explore Space, Together, Forever’: On Hope and Memes, by Savriël Dillingh