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Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland
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Adaptation - Prof Neil Mulholland

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A lecture on adaptation, relating to memes.

A lecture on adaptation, relating to memes.

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  • \n
  • I picked up on these words - they seem to suggest something viral.\n
  • I picked up on these words - they seem to suggest something viral.\n
  • Memetics understands cultural change happening through processes of imitation and variation.\n\nThe term ‘meme’ was spawned in Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene (1976)\n\nFor Dawkins, an organism is expected to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness—the number of copies of its genes passed on. The book also coins the term meme for a unit of human cultural evolution analogous to the gene, suggesting that such "selfish" replication may also model human culture, in a different sense. Memetics has become the subject of many studies since the publication of the book.\n\nMemes are replicators by definition, in analogy to genes. \n\n
  • Blackmore - “truly Darwinian explanations require more than just the idea of accumulating changes over time [...] The whole point of a memetic theory of cultural evolution is to treat memes as replicators in their own right. \n\nThis means that memetic selection drives the evolution of ideas in the interests of replicating the memes, not the genes. This is the big difference that separates memetics from most previous theories of cultural evolution”.\n\nAn example of a long surviving ‘replicator’ meme follows:\n
  • New technology imitates old tech. E.g. Of skeuomorphism\n\nWhat’s skeuomorphism? If you’ve ever used an Apple product, you’ve experienced digital skeuomorphic design: calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. Skeuomorphism is a catch-all term for when objects retain ornamental elements of past, derivative iterations--elements that are no longer necessary to the current objects’ functions.\n
  • A large part of memetics focuses on dissemination through replication. The meme as thought contagion is a well-known view that focuses mainly on memetic processes of dissemination. Aaron Lynch’s Thought Contagion (1996) is the main work giving the meme such connotations. Lynch is primarily concerned with religion and belief - but we can apply his ideas to thought more generally...\nAny theory accounting for adaptations by natural or artificial selection must include processes of interaction and processes that account for new variation, argues Lynch.\nComplexes of memes do not just replicate, they can and must adapt. This explains why some cultural phenomena (e.g. Christianity) become more successfully disseminated than others (e.g. My belief that Snoopy is a real dog).\nSo, memes are not just replicators, memes are also interactors.\nAn example follows of a meme as interactor...\n\n\n
  • This meme adapts to its circumstances, the ‘x’ factor is the variable.\n\nKnow Your Meme is a site that researches and documents Internet memes and viral phenomena. Founded in December of 2008, Know Your Meme's research is handled by an independent professional editorial and research staff and community members. In three years of its existence, the site grew to reach more than 9.5 million people every month and is considered the most authoritative source on news, history and origins of viral phenomena and Internet memes.\n\nInternet memes have risen in popularity with the rise of Internet Culture as more and more people identify with and participate on the Web as their primary method of expression and content consumption. (An Internet memes is a piece of content or an idea that's passed from person to person, changing and evolving along the way. A piece of content that is passed from person to person, but does not evolve or change during the transmission process is considered viral content.)\n
  • Blackmore on the interactor meme follow Dawkins’ notion of the selfish gene:\n\n“Memetics allows us to ask a different question. [...] how did these particular memes get themselves copied? The answers might include their benefits to human happiness or to human genes, but are not confined to those possibilities. Memes can spread for other reasons too, including less benign ones. They might spread because they appear to provide advantages even when they do not, because they are especially easily imitated by human brains, because they change the selective environment to the detriment of competing memes, and so on. With a meme’s eye view we ask not how inventions benefit human happiness or human genes, but how they benefit themselves. p27\n
  • Viral Funnel\n\nThis concerns how something is distributed. \n\nIt can be carried by other host media e.g. word of mouth. \n\nIt does not have to be distributed or enacted by the author/artist. \n\nIt can have a greater impact if enacted by a larger number of participants.\n\nEach time the work is re-enacted it has a different timbre so the system creates difference rather than strict repetition.\n\nIf there is only strict repetition we are looking at a virus, a meme replicates and interacts.\n
  • Blackmore invokes Karl Popper’s principle of falsification - progress is teleological, towards a goal, it develops, but “not towards anything in particular”. \n\nLet’s think of this in relation to a contemporary art. In what senses might be apply these concepts?\n\nThe theory lends itself to pattern spotting...\n
  • ...progress is teleological, towards a goal, it develops, but “not towards anything in particular”... This idea was accepted by many art historians by the start of the c20th. The idea resonated well with a formalist strategy pursed within art history - led by the Swiss art historian Heinrich Wolfflin.\n\nDoes this work in relation to contemporary art? How can it, surely contemporary art is formless, informe even? \n\nCan we spot patterns emerging in a visual sense?\n
  • About 10 years ago, a certain type of painting and sculpture emerging from London and Scotland was eagerly promoted as a ‘new formalism’. \n\nThanks to the Whitechapel exhibition, Early One Morning Jim Lambie’s work was easily damned as simply being “complicit with a consensus of cool.” as Nick Evans put it.\n\nIf awkward authenticity is ‘a way to produce a kind of faith’, then it can only be so amongst a small group of converted parishioners. Glasgow-based artist Nick Evans notes that it is more as if the use of such [new age] signs allows the [awkwardly authentic] artist to summon up a notion of the artworld as a ‘totemistic’ community, where through the process of an art education and shared sets of cultural and class values, artists and art lovers may develop a kinship between all things in the ‘artworld cosmos’.\n\nAwkward authenticity was reliant upon having faith in the self-authenticating gestures of artists. Evans was not alone in his frustration at the apparent lack of tolerance or space for critique present in what had become an orthodoxy of ‘cultural faith’.\n
  • It seemed that this reproduction of faith in a certain type of sculpture in particular mirrors Aaron Lynch’s Thought Contagion (1996) - that it can be understood as a meme. I’ve attempted to record this meme over the past 10 years in the form of\n\n‘Ohne Titel’\n\nAcademy for the Advanced Study of Sticks Leaning Against Walls (AASSLAW), an absurd systematisation of material culture.\n\n I’ve established a mnemosyne, collecting images of sticks using viral media (Web 2.0 smart mobbing + word of mouth).\n\n Participants blog images of sticks leaning against walls (none of which are made by me). Some go back further than this century but many similar works are being made as I speak.\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • In their ubiquity these sticks leaning against walls reveal an argot that is operative within the habitus of contemporary sculpture. They are reproducible and multiple objects.\n\n Paradoxically, they also emphasise the timbre of the unique sculptural object (some sticks perhaps just seem to be ‘better’ than others).\n\n The unique timbre of each new occurrance is what makes them meme like (rather than viral).\n
  • At the same time as this awkward authentic work was emerging, another kind of meme was dominant, namely that of the \n\n‘platform’ \n\nThis was a dominant structure (not so much evident immediately as a form) in the \n\n2002 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, \n\nthe 2002 Documenta,\n\nUlrich Obrist, Molly Nesbitt and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Utopia Station Poster Project at the 2003 Venice\nBiennale, \n\nUte Meta Bauer’s 2004 Berlin Biennale.\n\nAgain, it was not a new meme, just one that was very busy replicating itself. Arguably, it’s part of what’s been called ‘the long nineties’, the 1990s reaction against the market driven commercialism of the ‘80s.\n\nIt was certainly identified clearly by 1999 and many different names - ‘Relational Aesthetics’ being but one.\n\nIf it hasn’t gone away it’s because the bull market came back in the 00s - giving the ‘platform’ meme a new nemesis.\n\nWe can look at how it has adapted itself over the past ten years...\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Claire Bishop "Faking it on the Platform," Untitled (N°32 Summer 2004)\n\nThis article in Untitled signifies that the platform has become a meme by 2004, at least on the terms that ‘know your meme’ would have it.\n\nIt starts to come under fire / suspected of replication from this point onwards. \n\nThis is because memes imply replication and copying - art still clings to the idea of the original authentic gesture. \n\nNote here that the platform has become mobile - this is a form of adaptation in action. It has adapted to suit the more porus form of gallery space (of which Palais de Tokyo in Paris was one).\n
  • Meme becomes more mobile, platforms exit the gallery to occupy public spaces that are not art-specific.\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Celine Condorelli makes furniture specifically for such discursive formations.\n
  • The meme has developed full circle, from Gillick’s representations of platforms to actual platforms.\n
  • The meme in its many forms is then reconsidered in a few more recent publications (not as a meme explicitly but as ‘style site’ or ‘participation’).\n\n\n
  • Blackmore - “The emotions, the intellectual struggles, the subjective experiences - these are all parts of the complex system that leads to some behaviours being imitated and some not. And it because imitation lets loose a second replicator that ideas begin to have a life of their own.”\n
  • Transcript

    • 1. ‘Adaptation’
    • 2. Adjustment, Adoption, Alteration, Copy, Conversion, Compliance, Imitate,Modification, Remake, Remodel, Rework, Restage, Re-enact, Plagiarise, Shift, Transform, Transmission,Variation...
    • 3. Adjustment, Adoption, Alteration, Copy, Conversion, Compliance, Imitate,Modification, Remake, Remodel, Rework, Restage, Re-enact, Plagiarise, Shift, Transform, Transmission,Variation...
    • 4. Memes
    • 5. The whole point of amemetic theory of culturalevolution is to treat memesas replicators in their ownright.Blackmore, Susan J, (1999) "The evolution of culture" from Blackmore, Susan J, The meme machinepp.27, Oxford: Oxford University Press ©
    • 6. IBooks App for iPadA wooden bookcase, late c19th. Early c21st, Apple ©
    • 7. Memetics
    • 8. knowyourmeme.com
    • 9. ...how did these particularmemes get themselves copied?Blackmore, Susan J, (1999) "The evolution of culture" from Blackmore, Susan J, The meme machinepp.27, Oxford: Oxford University Press ©
    • 10. Viral FunnelThis concerns how something is distributed.• It can be carried by other host media e.g. word of mouth.• It does not have to be distributed or enacted by the author/artist.• It can have a greater impact if enacted by a larger number of participants.• Each time the work is re-enacted it has a different timbre so the system creates difference rather than strict repetition.• A meme will vary in timbre. (A virus will never vary.)
    • 11. ...progress is teleological,towards a goal, it develops,but “not towards anything inparticular”.Blackmore, Susan J, (1999) "The evolution of culture" from Blackmore, Susan J, The meme machinepp.27, Oxford: Oxford University Press ©
    • 12. See also: The Slide Lecture, or the Work of Art "History" in the Age of MechanicalHeinrich Wölfflin Reproduction Author(s): Robert S. Nelson Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 26, No. 3,June 21, 1864-1945. (Spring, 2000), pp. 414-434 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1344289
    • 13. JIM LAMBIEPsychedelic Soul Stick, 2000Bamboo cane, wire, thread, broken disco record and ceramic.Height: 44 in. (111.8 cm)
    • 14. These sticks tend to be abstract or neo-formalist sculptures(although they don’t have to be and not all are artworks).The images can be used in many different ways (lectures like this, artworks, etc.)They do not presuppose a use and are therefore adaptive memes like much new technology.
    • 15. Nicolas Borriaud Relational Aesthetics 1999Liam Gillick, Big Conference Platform Platform 1998©TATE
    • 16. Basekamp, PhiladelphiaThe Hegemonic Bar: Another roundJune 5, 2009 (All day) - July 10, 2009 (All day)First enacted in 1999, The Hegemonic Bar is a social experiment and drinkinggame about class and money
    • 17. Are You Meaning Company Two Getting Along, (2001-), ongoing project 210 x 148drawings, colour pencils, pencil sharpener, leaflets, suitcase, DVD, table, chairs
    • 18. Protoacademy, Edinburgh at the 2002 Gwangu Biennale.
    • 19. Loris Cecchini, Salon pour le Palais de Tokyo 2004-05
    • 20. Thomas Hirschhorn, The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival, 2009.Lectures/Seminars : Toni Negri Amsterdam, 2009.Photo: Vittoria Martini
    • 21. Unwetter, Berlin Discursive Picnic 30th August 2009
    • 22. Critical Practice, London PublicCamp BarCamp May 22nd 2010
    • 23. Céline Condorelli Céline CondorelliRevision Part II, an adjustable spatial setting for ARTSCHOOL/UK 2010 Revision Part II, an adjustable spatial setting for ARTSCHOOL/UK 2010http://www.tonky.fr/r-new/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Celine-Condorelli.jpg http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/refusing-conformity-and-exclusion-art-education
    • 24. 2007 2012
    • 25. ... complex system that leadsto some behaviours beingimitated and some not. [...]because imitation lets loosea second replicator thatideas begin to ‘have a life oftheir own’.Blackmore, Susan J, (1999) "The evolution of culture" from Blackmore, Susan J, The meme machinepp.29. Oxford: Oxford University Press ©

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