Being a content creator online has become more difficult over the years. Many websites used to share self-made content, such as YouTube or Twitch, and the networks/companies affiliated with their ‘Content ID’ systems are really cracking down on their copyright policies. While the automation of the reviewing process is necessary with the scale of the task in mind, having bots check videos for copyright infringements is problematic. Often errors will be made when a video that usually can fall under fair use laws is striked or taken down for copyright infringement. It is important to realise that there is a process of appeal that can be taken for your videos, so read up on the details of fair use if you think one day you may need to plead your case. The same principle applies to using images in maybe graphic design, web articles, and presentations. Always ask the original publisher permission to use their images, they may wish to charge you for distribution and use. For license free images that you can use without worry, check out creative commons. Dodging all these copyright laws can be tough at times, as there are many nuances to responsible distribution practices. Here’s a meme that expresses the frustrations of a struggling content creator.
The Internet is the world’s largest copy machine. Internet memes are created and reiterated over and over by online users, constructing a prominent ‘remix culture’. These memetic ideas and formats act much like the original concept of a ‘meme’ coined in Richard Dawkin’s book ‘The Selfish Gene’, in that they constantly change and develop after each iterative remix. Memes take on new meaning as they evolve and spread. Anyone can whip up a fresh, mediocre meme in no time, with minimal originality and effort required. It’s great! Meme-making utilises the fundamental ‘FIST’ method; fast, inexpensive, simple, tiny. Here is my recipe for a successful internet meme;
Meme of the month
Grab the most popular format of the month; maybe ‘distracted boyfriend’, or ‘gru’s plan’
Find a hot topic of the month; perhaps the newest upcoming Marvel film, or if you’re feeling extra bold you can meme the most current political topic/event
IF ALL ELSE FAILS!; just use something relatable
Smash everything together and serve!
This is just one example, of course there are many (perhaps infinite) other ways to create and iterate upon internet memes. With the help of my friend Matt, who you can find on SoundCloud here; https://soundcloud.com/emjaays/ I learnt some new techniques on how to make a quick beat with some ‘meme-tastic’ samples, and the result was this neat ‘mememix’.
I won’t lie, I unironically like vaporwave. The music, the culture, the aesthetic, everything it encompasses really. When I was 15 years old, I also got way into cloud rap. Yung Lean is responsible for my now alarmingly large collection of bucket hats. What intrigued me most about this niche internet culture was how the music and visuals could evoke nostalgia for an era in which I wasn’t even alive. Some 80s/90s music and tech were a part of my childhood (dial up, windows 98, nintendo64) though I never truly grew up in those decades. The fusion of these familiar retro elements with the messy incongruity of our digital world and meme culture is what draws me so magnetically to this aesthetic and music genre.
I made this GIF, inspired by an interview with the singer Björk. She disassembles an old TV out of curiosity and describes what she sees inside as “a little model of a city”. I found this image of a disassembled, discarded old PC and glitched it with PHOTOMOSH. It creates this cool, retro vibe while also evoking this sense of abandonment; the poor ‘little city’ is thrown out like a piece of junk, as new tech supersedes it. Developments in digital tech push our society, our ‘little city’, to change. Out with the old, and in with the new.
I found the message behind this phrase difficult to understand at first, and that’s because of the medium it’s being expressed in; a paradoxical proverb. Though when explained to me in a way that’s easy to understand, I noticed the truth behind Marshall McLuhan’s words. Content is in many ways determined by the means used to create it.
The example of vinyl records setting a precedent for the structure of modern pop songs is particularly interesting. Although the medium has been far superseded as a way of listening to music, many songs still adhere to the 3-4 minute track length that was originally a limitation of vinyl singles and their rotations per minute. I imagined how inconvenient it must have been for teens who grew up in the age of vinyl records to create unique experiences with each listening session because of the limitations of vinyl, compared to now when apps like Spotify or YouTube provide a constant stream of music mixes relevant to our interests. I’ve expressed this idea by editing a peanuts comic, where poor Charlie Brown laments the restrictive vinyl medium.