Meme-ify / Research Project (2020)
Meme-ify is a research project focusing on the translation of journalist images of front-line resistance into internet memes and its potentiality as a strategy for performance as activism. As the main emotional adjective in art activism is mostly concerned with rage, depression and frustration, we are looking at humour as a replacement to combat activist fatigue as well as the absurdity of the current affairs. The hilarious nature of memes provides a strong foundation for it to discuss the logical fallacy of the politics. Hence, the metatext of it becomes meaningful and is a space for artists to look into and derive performance strategies.
At the same time, we promote this idea of combating the absurdity of the world with humour as a radical self-care strategy for everyone. As we are bombarded by shocking and traumatic news and images every day through the screen of our gadgets, our psychological wellbeings are often overlooked by the urgency and need for actions and resistance. We look into how this change in perspective becomes a necessity for activists to sustain momentum and remain connected to the community - radical self-care.
Ghost and John invites four performance artists: Bettina Fung, Isabella Leung, Iris Chan, Yun Cheng, which came from the practices of visual art, dance, theatre and clowning, and attempt to look into the topic through different lens and thinking.
Invited by Young Blood Initiative and commissioned and co-presented by Framer Framed (NL), we are doing a five-day residency at “Wake up and smell the tear gas”. We are hosting a two-day action research session and presenting a performance during our residency.
This project is the project one of our greater body of work about hijacking internet trends for activism.
"The event reminds us that art is a form of building, a joining together, a productive gesture. Starting from a virtual space, art connects a community of kindred spirits in pursuit of alternative visions of care and politics." - Emily Lee for Framer Framed. Read the full report here.
“A Tank-Full of Memes”
30 September 2020 (Wed)
At 48 Aberfeldy St, London, E14 0NU
Broadcasted online over YBI and Ghost and John's Facebook page
(Moved to online only due to sudden COVID restrictions)
Performers: Bettina Fung, Isabella Leung, Iris Chan, Yun Cheng, Ghost and John
BOOM BOOM BOOM. HERE WE MAAAAAAAAARCH ON.
Watch us trapped in this tank and we continue to RESIST. We are tired but we are never exhausted. We may be four but we are many as we multiply through dimensions that you hold in your palm.
Watch us live or watch us online. We are here in this street shop while you stare at us through the shop window, like a kid staring at a cake. Or maybe we are on your screen at the corner of your desk, like the fish tank at your grandpa’s home.
This performance is the aftermath of action research called “Meme-ify: An Attempt To Dance Through Pain with Humour”, where we explore humour as a strategy to combat absurdity and activist fatigue.
Action Research Together:
“Meme-ify: An Attempt To Dance Through Pain with Humour.”
26,27 September 2020 (Sat, Sun)
Facilitator: Ghost and John
Core research team: Bettina Fung, Isabella Leung, Iris Chan, Yun Cheng
Resistance*1000days = Fatigue. Now what? How do we continue?
As we are getting tired from our ongoing resistance and fight for progression and freedom, it is time for exploring ways to review, rethink and remember. We receiving violent and horrible journal images on our phones every day, slowly our minds adapt and think “that’s just the usual”. We can see how journalists in Hong Kong are using memes on social media to attract our attention to the news that reflects the absurdity that we are in. Netizens are also creating their own art, including rewriting lyrics of pop songs, making telegram stickers and more. The government of Taiwan are also adapting the use of meme in spreading news and debunking myths. We started to think maybe meme-ifying is the new way to combating the absurdity of our world.
On 26 and 27 September between 10am – 1pm BST, Framer Framed and Young Blood Initiative will host a 2-day online action research workshop facilitated by Ghost and John, concerning humour as a strategy to combat activist fatigue and absurdity of the contemporary society. We investigate how this translation from journal images to meme can be a tool for devising performance. If you are interested in further exploring activism and performance, we invite you to be participating in this workshop with us online. We investigate how this translation from journal images to meme can be a tool for devising performance. If you are interested in further exploring activism and performance, we invite you to be participating in this workshop with us online.
Here is a shortlist of things that you need to bring:
* An open mind and body
* Willingness to both listen and share
* A small stack of newspapers
* Your electronic gadgets: phones and tablets with social media apps installed
* Pencil and paper
* Your set of artist supplies: scissors, cardboard, strings, glue, markers, crayons…
Commisioned and Co-presented by