- 29 Mar 2022
Memes are everywhere in digital culture: small creative contents, often put in a hybrid format of diverse media (text, image, audio, video), and shared through various digital channels within multiple social communities. While the cultural significance of memes is sometimes questioned in more conservative media (the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung observed in 2019 that memes are “trash” but important), they are receiving increasing attention not only from the side of artists, but also from different scientific disciplines. Indeed, it seems that it is exactly the ambiguous and unstable nature of memes, their communicative potential and intermediality that makes them travel so well between different recipients.
Moderated by Federica Patti, the author Berit Glanz, the linguist Thomas C. Messerli and the artist Jiajia Zhang discuss the significance of memes as a pop cultural digital object. What insights do they take from their confrontation with memes? What significance do they attribute to them for their respective fields of work? Is there any common ground in the different approaches to memes, and how are memes “read” differently?