Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catchphrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.”
-Richard Dawkins, A Selfish Gene
I propose to curate an exhibition on ‘internet memes’ within online culture. It is my mission to celebrate memes as a higher art form. I will show how they have moved a long way from websites such as Reddit and 4chan, and how they are used as communication across cultures. I will explore memes as an artistic practice that relate to people in a socio-political (Bernie and Hilary) and creative (Doge) way. In order to do this I will exhibit female meme collectives, colloquial meme sites, meme archives and gold mines. I will illustrate the transition from a simple ‘internet meme’ to memes that have transferred from URL into IRL. They will no longer be viewed as poor taste or low culture but portrayed as the most democratic art form, similar to folk art.
So far the female collective pantyhoe$ are creating meme inspired pants for the exhibition, whilst Instagram artist Gothshakira is working on an original meme especially for What Do You Meme?
I will release a call for submissions, where fellow meme appreciators can send in their favourite memes, or create their own, with a caption explaining what a meme means to them.
The exhibition will raise curatorial questions, as to how something as fluid as an ‘internet meme’ will work outside of the internet, will it lose its meaning and purpose IRL? Will the memes included in the exhibition become dated as the internet flows on, dropping one thing and picking up the next? Will memes ever be taken seriously in the art world? However, one thing is for certain, What Do You Meme? will create an insight into the world of memes, encapsulating the most dank of its kind.
Above all else I propose to much celebrate memes as a many light-hearted, such humorous part of the Internet that cannot go ignored.