Take a painting of Mona Lisa. Draw a moustache, and a beard on her. Add a snarky caption underneath and you've got yourself a viral meme account. Years before the internet existed, MarcelDuchamp did exactly this, and put it in an art gallery!
Freud would tell you (and Marcel) that your subversive humor is nothing but a wave of repressed aggression, and when you made that joke, you did it because you needed to expose what the world around you censors. You see, there is a dark underlying emotion to a meme. Nobody can un-see it, and yet, it has happened before.
Dadaism is a 20th century art movement- sister concern of the Surrealist movement. Dadaists have been widely described as nihilistic and anti-rationalistic, which is a complicated way of saying- they hated the society and every conventional hierarchy in it.
Think of memes as the millennial adaptation of Dada. They are random and absurd, surreal and existential. Dadaists poked fun at the status quo, producing work that stretched, if not crossed, the notions of what was called art at the time. It is no different from your fuckjerry account posting memes about how much kids suck, Veganism sucks, Instagram algorithms suck, Donald Trump sucks, Mc Donalds sucks, Men suck, cargo pants suck...
The movement emerged primarily in Europe, in the wake of World War I. Traditional logic and thinking had led to a post-war world that no longer made sense, as a reaction to which, Dadaists created art that used humour and nonsense as a coping mechanism.
Jokes, Freud states, serve a psychological purpose- letting you forget for one minute, that you need to check your unlicensed emotions. Freud does not seem like a fun person to hang out with. But he is right. Memes do feel like a coping mechanism. Perhaps they’re our way of passively protesting against this heavy boulder of existential dread.
Question is - are we making a meme, or becoming it?
September Playlist - Existential Dread
In keeping with the theme of being a rebel just for kicks, now:
Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
My God Has A Telephone - by The Flying Stars Of Brooklyn NY
Palace by So Long Forever
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray
Palace by Bitter