After a five-year hiatus, the MemeFactory returns to the stage to take stock of the meme moment in 2017, when a group of people have taken credit for meme-ing a president into office and visual culture has taken on an overtly political attitude. Where once “lolcats” were the lingua franca of memes, now we struggle to dissect the visual impact of allegedly racist frogs and debate whether it’s okay to celebrate the various remixes of a white supremacist getting socked in the jaw. The MemeFactory performs, critiques, and considers the evolution of niche online visual cultures in a special, one-night program developed specifically in response to the themes of the ICP Museum's current exhibition, Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change.
MemeFactory's performance will be preceded by a talk by Alice Marwick, a fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute currently leading the Media Manipulation project, which examines the relationship between far-right Internet subcultures, participatory culture, and the mainstream media. Marwick's presentation will focus on memes as a powerful, visual form of participatory, user-generated content in today's visual culture environment.
MemeFactory is a fast-paced, always-changing, lecture-based performance art piece about visual culture online. With three performers, three computers, and three projectors, MemeFactory seeks to replicate (or at least channel) the brisk, self-referential and often irreverent nature of “meme culture,” while exploring it's wider implications. But don't worry: there are jokes.
Stephen Bruckert is an artist and filmmaker living in Brooklyn with his much more successful wife and similarly successful three dogs. He was expelled from Bennington College’s prestigious creative writing program. He is also a beta cuck libtard who subscribes to the failing New York Times because he loves the very dishonest and unfair fake-news media. Sad.
Patrick Davison is a graduate student living and teaching in Los Angeles. His research is on the pre-history of social media, game design, and Internet fads. When he's not reading, writing, or researching, he enjoys Internet television and vegan ice cream.
Mike Rugnetta is a Brooklyn-based composer, programmer, and performer. He's the co-creator, writer, and host of the award-winning YouTube show Idea Channel, produced by PBS Digital Studios. He is also the creator and host of the podcast Reasonably Sound. MemeFactory is his first love, though.
Alice Marwick (PhD, New York University) is a 2016–2017 Fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute, where she leads the Media Manipulation project. Her current book project examines how the networked nature of online privacy disproportionately impacts marginalized individuals in terms of gender, race, and socio-economic status. She is the author of Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age (Yale 2013), an ethnographic study of the San Francisco tech scene which examines how people seek social status through attention and visibility online. Marwick was previously Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies and the Director of the McGannon Center for Communication Research at Fordham University. She has written for popular publications such as the New York Times, New York Review of Books, and The Guardian, in addition to academic publications. In fall 2017, she will join the Communication department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.