In-Jokes and outsiders: Considering internet memes as displaced performances’: GRiT (Graduate Research in Theatre) event. 8 May 2019

All are welcome to attend this year’s fourth and final GRiT (Graduate Research in Theatre) event. 

Film, Media and Cultural Studies doctoral student Hannah Barton’s talk ‘In-Jokes and outsiders: Considering internet memes as displaced performances’ will take place on Wednesday, 8 May  (4-5 pm) in Room 106 (43 Gordon Square). We look forward to seeing you there!

In-Jokes and outsiders: Considering internet memes as displaced performances’:

From LOLcats to Distracted Boyfriends, Galaxy Brain to SpongeBob, internet memes have been described as the lingua franca of social media. Commonly conceptualised as ephemeral visual (and sometimes aural) artefacts, memes tend to be ‘read’ in terms of form and content. However, memes are not simply proliferated artefacts; they are highly contextual and associative communicative events; shared as performances between creators and audiences, and mediated by technologies. As social and technological contexts iterate, so do the practices of meme production. Put otherwise, the experience of creating or encountering a meme can be markedly different from one week to the next. This dynamism poses interesting challenges for researchers. Can internet memes be comprehensively theorised once they become displaced from the technosocial conditions in which they were created? This seminar will discuss these points, and suggest that theoretical positions drawn from performance studies provide strategies for acknowledging – and where possible capturing – the technosocial context in which a meme was created and proliferated.

Hannah Barton is a doctoral student in Birkbeck’s Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, where she is researching the cultural history of internet memes. She is also Digital Project Manager at Tate, and an occasional writer.

 

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