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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Art of the INSANE EDITION meme

I am not one for looking too much at youtubery but in searching for another video, discovered the "Insane Edition," type of video, or a meme (a viral internet phenomenon, generally meant to annoy).

The Insane Edition is an internet Meme that repeats a piece of dialogue, sound, or action, past the point of meaninglessness and into the realm of some sort of new interpretation. This is actually a common aspect of post-modern art, musique concrete (the Beatles Revolution #9 is the most familiar of that type) comes to mind. I also remember doing this in my head as a child, to repeat a word until it lost meaning. This idea, the failure of language, is central to one of the earlier modernist movements, Dada. This takes on a new aspect in a global community, and may explain why many of this type of meme are taken from Anime. For Dada language as both a division and its application in propaganda, was central to the death, destruction, and angst in the wake of WWI. Or it didn't seem to be relevant to being able to adequately express a world after such trauma. It sought to remove the high concept of language to childish gibberish, and out of place profanity. Here, language is debased because it is not the major mode, or perhaps the most useful mode, in a global web based community.

First, here's the most popular variant on the original meme:

The fact that most of the original footage used to create this type of meme comes from commercials, video games, or children's cartoons highlights its underlying impulse. While this is not intentional (at least as a whole), what this meme is doing is emphasizing the media saturation around this generation by taking the annoying aspects of certain media and stretching it to absurd levels.

Most of the works in this meme use the repetition to create a subversive reaction against what is seen as overtly commercial media aimed at children. (Bringing to mind a popular Dada performance, consisting of taking a (usually) French speaking girl, often dressing her up in a communion dress, and having her read the most profane German script they could find.)

Here is a children's cartoon based on (or essentially a commercial for)a video game:

Or perhaps to highlight the fact that some cartoons, marked for children, are inappropriate for children. This clip from dragonballz isn't, but many of the uncut original episodes taken as whole can be. And this just brings that tension to the forefront.

The most pervasive and repetitious media is the commercial. In a way, these can bee seen as a subjective relation of the experience of seeing a given ad one time to many.

This is also an act of reclamation, another key aspect to post-modern art. Here, the annoying and repetitive commercials, something seen as disposable and inane, is, through even more disposable and inane repetition, brought to a rhythmic, music like, interpretation, moving from abrasive, to musical and open to a, this is key, personal interpretation. Syntax loses meaning, the underlying structure being commercial consumer-capitalism, and is now free to be used by anyone.


Eddie the Girl said...

how do you know all this?

erin said...

Fascinating read. It brings to mind so many things that make me feel unsettled about the direction our post-post-modern society is taking. Namely the destruction of deconstructed things that are homages to deconstruction. Or something like that.

But anything that makes fun of Wilford Brimley can't be a bad thing.

Jacob said...

in retrospect I should have called this
"Insane in the meme brain."