This year, Guernica celebrates its 10th anniversary as a free, online magazine of art & politics! As we prepare to launch into our second decade, we hope you'll consider making an end-of-year donation. Reader, you make this work possible.

Skip to Content

Share

Justin Alvarez: We’re All In This Together (Online)

August 18, 2011

Bookmark and Share


PBS Arts’s new video series Off Book explores new definitions of art. Their latest episode explores the world of online memes and remixes. Yes, that includes the Youtube Nyan Cat.

By **Justin Alvarez**

Justin Alvarez_Large.jpgThis week, PBS Arts released the newest episode of Off Book, their excellent video series that focuses on expanding our definition of art. “Off Book: Visual Culture Online,” explores the phenomenon of online memes, collaborative art, and remixes. Watching the short documentary reminded me of when I first came across Rageguy (described in the PBS video by Chris Menning, a viral trends researcher for Buzzfeed). A friend had sent the link over in an IM as a joke: a 4-pane comic crudely drawn in MS Paint depicting a “toilet splashback” experience (exactly what you think it is). The first three panes described the incident; the last pane showed Rageguy screaming with the caption in bright red letters—“FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU-”—filling up the right half of the pane. I shrugged, not really understanding the joke. However, a quick Google search for “Rageguy” produced dozens of derivates of the original comic. The format in all of them never changed: the first three panes illustrated the rage-inducing situation and the fourth ended with Rageguy screaming. They were goofy and irreverent; however, more importantly, as Menning points out, they were relatable. Without even noticing, an entire collective creation—an internet meme—had occurred.

I found this fact exhilarating, knowing that in the matter of a few hours thousands of people could successfully engage in a creative exchange. For better or worse, the internet has brought the collective masses together, allowing netizens the opportunity to collaborate and build upon one another’s work. Whether it’s a “flash mob”, Paula Deen Riding Things, or the infectious Nyan Cat Youtube remixes, “We’re all living in the same moment,” Dump.FM’s co-creator Ryder Ripps comments in the video. Why not spend that moment collectively watching the Nyan Cat on Youtube?

Watch the PBS video below (or if you prefer Nyan Cat, click here):

________________________________________________________________________

Justin Alvarez is an editorial assistant at Guernica. Read more about him here.

  Justin Alvarez: “Love the Future!”: As Ai Weiwei’s whereabouts are still unknown, netizens have taken it upon themselves to spread his message. More
 
  Genevieve Walker: Louise Bourgeois, The Mathematician: Is it possible to express emotion through numbers?

More

     
  Majed Neisi & Salar Abdoh: The Girls of Opium: A Iranian documentary filmmaker reports on his travels in the Middle East. More
 
  James Schamus: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, or Adorno in Ramallah: On teaching a class on the role of film and art in times of crisis. More

For more on this topic and others at GUERNICA, click HERE .

SUBSCRIBE TO GUERNICA’S RSS FEED

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

Tagged with:

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterAdd to BufferShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUpon
Submit to redditShare on App.netShare via email

You might also like

Leave a comment




Anti-Spam Quiz:

Subscribe without commenting