Just as certain relics acted as vessels of mana in holy rituals, memes act as the locus of mana in the post-Internet era. In fact, the function of memes as omniritualistic relics has allowed users to revive the aura in images a mere 85 years after Walter Benjamin proclaimed its death in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935). A meme, rather than be framed by the environment in the way that Benjamin argued is the focus of reproduced art, frames its environment by recontextualising it. True, a meme changes meaning based on its environment, just as a poster is perceived differently based on how it is framed. But more importantly, a meme brings with it its evolutionary history. The reproductive success of a meme depends on how well it performs its function as a relic: it must be a good vessel for the mana it has inherited from its past.
BORN TO DIE / WORLD IS A FUCK / Kill Em All 1989 / I am trash man / 410,757,864,530 DEAD COPS,
"Engrish," @afffirmations, race/stereotype
- Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).
- Alex Alberro, Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).