#7: cyberculture’s nascent revolution


A nascent culture war is presently being waged online between anonymous user-driven content creators and the entrenched, faceless corporate culture industry. This clash is allowing art and culture to evolve as Guy Debord’s “society of spectacle” mutates and blurs peoples conceptions of reality to its own ends. This paper examines how image memes like “Rage Comics” evolve in the foment of a frustrated and alienated online subculture as a reaction to the cultural hegemony of consumer society. On the Internet, the production and consumption of image memes thrives in vast online ecologies in real time. In an anonymous, virtual space, these cultural producer/consumers are recognizing their ability to collaborate and represent a new consensus bound understanding of reality and redefining Walter Benjamin’s “artistic aura”. The liminal, ahistorical and atemporal environment of the Internet, allows people to collaborate and recognize the emerging strength and fecundity of networking not only computers, but creativity and life experience. Image memes are a small example of what becomes possible when ubiquitously mediated individuals learn to reclaim, remix and re-appropriate art and cultural production from the interests of capital. By embracing the parasitic nature of the technological reproduction of art and culture in the Information age, individuals are discovering possibilities of subverting the viral, plastic, capitalist system on their own terms both online and in the real world.

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