Meme Tactics: How Artists Innovate Media to Make Underheard Voices Go Viral

Internet memes, once thought to be fun, silly and casual, are increasingly part of a sophisticated communications strategy. While memes can and do wreak havoc in our societies, notably our electoral processes, we invite you to consider a broader definition of memetic expression that includes the promotion of civic good and social equity through visual, sonic and interactive discourse. Here, artists find creative and speculative ways to amplify, build on and disseminate messages from underheard social movements.

These three artists and collectives, Amy Suo Wu, Elyla Sinvergüenza, Xiaoshi Qin + Hera Chan, craft ways to negotiate power and assert presence by defying dominant media narratives in China, Cuba, Nicaragua and beyond. The projects emerged independently and collaboratively across continents, languages and within the socio-political restrictions placed on media by governments. Despite the constraints, these artists came up with brilliant tactics to make underheard voices “go viral,” especially among those of us who might not recognize these issues as “our own” and as relevant to “our” future as it is to “theirs.” We share these tactics with you to propagate the power of creative interventions. These projects function like our favorite memes, encouraging everyone to interact and pass them on.

Deliver your own letters, imagine your own survival guides, stream your own news, sew your own patch on your jacket. Make it fashion, make it trend and make sure it catches on.

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