Digital romance is a longing for the irretrievable past, a way of treating a new paradigm of media through the prism of old ones, new systems through old systems, the inability to distance oneself from old ideas.
Are memes resisting the digital revolution by creating endless permutations of the appropriated content? By transforming historical styles to the level of absurdity they become deprived of any meaning, they become only the shells of the previous ideology – a lone ideology to which any other can ‘attach’ itself.
Memes as a strategy of cultural resistance, punk postmodernism, time without great narratives, nihilism of 4chan, the birth of Anon, Alt-right as a rebellion against Left Conservatism - all these are ‘meta-rebels’ lost in constant mutations. New right-wingers, libertarians, transhumanists, anarcho-capitalists, mimetic social orders… Our reality begins to look like Southland Tales, 99% of all information is irrelevant – bait and smoke screen – a binary diversion.
In the binary system, everything is constructed of two values, 1 or 0, YES or NO. Digital (binary) is in principle contrary to the romantic (emotional, impulsive ...), although in the age of Tinder, YES or NO are the only option, and that's a lot of YESES and a lot of NOS. Tinder is a practical example of implementing statistics in love relationships through the law of large numbers. Connecting two polarities into one results in neurosis, a struggle between ‘rationality’ and ‘emotionality’, between mind and impulse, between natural laws and the subjectivity of consciousness.
With the emergence of distributed networks, rapid infrastructures and enormous (and growing) numbers of users, millennia of cultural appropriation and gradual mutations accelerated exponentially, reducing the duration of the process of complete mutation from a century to a few hours. Metanarratives of pop culture, mixed with historical narrative, result in a rapidly developing pathogen, which spreads through digital networks faster than the Spanish flu.
A good example of neurotic subjectivity in history is Romanticism, including the ideas that developed under the influence of Romanticism in the later centuries. Romanticism is the European artistic and intellectual movement of the late 18th century, which focused on emotions, individualism, nature, history, and appropriated elements of different historical periods as a resistance to what is now called the Industrial Revolution. It is closely related to nationalism and is considered an introduction to the fascist ideology of the first half of the 20th century. After all, the artistic style of Nazi Germany was a combination of Greek and Roman art and architecture with elements of romanticism and heroism. The aesthetic notion of the millennial kingdom Third Reich, combining Christian with Ancient Roman and Napoleonic references, is the epitome of romanticism. The replication of certain periods for the purpose of false impression, always necessarily using simulation of materials and style and lacking authenticity, is also the definition of kitsch.
From the visual landscape of the margins of the internet, on forums (Reddit), blogs, imageboards (4chan) and social networks, we can see how in the rapids of the digital stream ideologies are defined, communities, hybrids of social systems and synchronicity are created, and social changes are triggered. In these nooks the monarchy connects with Silicon Valley (new feudalism), anarchism with capitalism (anarcho-capitalism) ... What is marginal today, might become dominant tomorrow (Alt-right - The Dark Enlightenment), but it might also not.
Not so long ago, the term ‘post-Internet art’ came in sway, a vague term supposedly gathering a wide range of practices and works under a single denominator. In principle, post-Internet art deals with the transition of the digital into the domain of the real, uses quotes of visual by-products of digital processes and transposes them into material form, material reality. Unfortunately, most of these so-called ground-breaking works refer exclusively to the sphere of the visual and rarely transcend formalism. As a consequence, these works are lost on the periphery of the system, instead of dealing with the system itself.
Let’s examine the pathogens, not their shells – systems, not forms – expose the structures that create visual parasites. Give us your trash, your visual saliva! Let's rip the pixels, accelerate the mutation! Let the visual reach its final denominator!