Someone asked me what I thought about surreal memes and I really liked the question so I basically wrote a whole essay to answer that question. It seemed relevant to this blog so I thought I might share it here, too:
Once upon a time I went to see an art show by Jordan Wolfson. Besides some insanity dancing sculptures, there was a video. It consisted of scenes with a poorly cgi’d condom that was leaking hearts whilst dancing through some rando’s childhood home (or so I interpreted that house). Other scenes included the artist dressed as a punk walking around some 2017 metropole city, like a total anachronism. The whole ordeal was accompanied by Beyonce music and displayed in a room covered in fake fur (ceiling included).
It stuck with me because I interpreted it as a post-modern-post-internet kinda art piece, that just was full of the empty imagery that is encountered now everywhere all the time. Meme culture is just a part of that.
There’s so many images splashed over you that all of them have lost a certain core impact. Repeated exposure numbs. And it is so available over the internet. So many pictures of someones darling dearest baby. So much hardcore anal porn. So many photographs by talented photographers. So much joy and darkness and beauty so readily available.
And that video made me think about all of this. Because what did that outdated house mean to me? Or the condom dancing with hearts? I did not bother about someone else’s house or the anachronist punk. But I was aching because surely it must be meaningful to someone.
When I came home from the show I spoke to my mom. She had seen it too and it turned out that she was way more informed about it. She told me it was actually a piece about something with aids and some social motivation ladidadida. Totally not what I had experienced it to be.
And so my point is, I guess, that memes can do this too. They create their own world where they get used again and again and again and the repetition makes them something new, with no ties to original content and intent. Images that create their own worlds and meanings and repetitions. (in conceptual art these are called simulacra)
I didn’t know surreal memes by name until you asked me, so I googled them guess what. I love them. They are so very much meme to the core: just imagery with no origin, just a canvas for my interpretation.