How do we conceptualise online ‘communities’. What are platform ‘ideologies’. And why is the internet making us so damn unhappy?
Knee-jerk accusations of fascist thought and the refusal to embrace aesthetic ambiguity have meant that that ‘the left can’t meme’. It’s all Walter Benjamin’s fault – but artist like Joshua Citarealla and Monira Al Qadiri offer alternatives.
If a researcher tracing the role of the meme to the politicisation and radicalisation of online communities struggles to keep up what hope does an artist have?
Capitalism breeds depression, suggested Mark Fisher. Mike Watson picks this prognosis when the locked-down pandemic world is mired in a depression that is economic and psychological, and no doubt exacerbated by the transfer of culture and life online.
Is this what the ‘digital’ humanities look like? How might we make sense of the explosion of online activity? How can researchers account for the ‘Zoom effect’? And what data can we find online anyway?