The Memeing of Life: Of Internet Memes, Sympoiesis, and Digital Cultures

Sophie Publig
Peter Weibel-Research Institute for Digital Cultures, Peter Weibel-Research Institute for Digital Cultures
2024S, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S05137

Description

This seminar explores the history of memes in the digital landscape in respect to the platforms on which they emerge, mutate and thrive. Utilizing a lens of media ecology, we delve into the ecosystems of digital cultures in which each internet platform recursively shapes the specific characteristics of different memescapes. Embracing an understanding of the fluid dynamics of meme circulation allows us to relate memes to the users, platforms, media, infrastructures and references that determine their existence. This approach is based on a critical posthuman perspective that challenges traditional philosophical dichotomies and recognizes the inherent agency and vitality of all linginv and non-living beings. This enables to grasp memes as living entities remediated through digital interactions, facilitating the exchange of ideas within online communities, and shaping the landscape of digital exchanges.


Given the influence that memes have on our daily online presence, our research also contributes to a deeper understanding of their role in the historical development of digital cultures. By tracing a genealogy of memes, we unravel their transformative influence on online behavior and community dynamics and shed light on the complex interplays between users, platforms, and global phenomena online. Using methods of literary and discourse analysis, participants will conduct an in-depth study of meme culture with the goal to analyze semiological elements embedded in memes to make sense of their often contradictory meanings and social implications. Through this integral understanding of memes, participants will be challenged to reflect not only on their online behavior, but also on their broader responsibilities in coexisting with and shaping digital ecosystems.

Examination Modalities

Students are expected to actively participate in the sessions and submit a short essay analyising a meme of choice at the end of the semester. All further information will be given in the first session.

Dates

12 March 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
19 March 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
09 April 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
16 April 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
23 April 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
30 April 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
07 May 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
14 May 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
28 May 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
04 June 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
11 June 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 21
18 June 2024, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 7

Course Enrolment

From 05 February 2024, 00:00
The online registration was already closed

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