Meme (noun)

  • 1- a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition and replication in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.
  • 2- a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.

Meme is the 4th’ m of message, medium, market. Like a great tagline, a good meme sticks like peanut butter to the roof of one’s subconscious. In their social way memes transmit ideas and belief information in a manner similar to the way genes transmit biological information. Memes can also mutate while spreading, and can also be any viral phenomenon able to induce agents to replicate it, resulting in copies being produced and broadcast Think of a group of kids playing Telephone. The original message tends to change dramatically as it’s whispered from one person to the next.

More interesting yet is a meme mutating across generations. Marcel Duchamp worked on his sculpture ‘The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even’ for 8 years, 1915-1923. A complex, humorous piece enclosed by glass panes, it achieved minor notoriety in the years after its completion. In 1979 Bryan Ferry resurrected the meme with his solo album ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’. Thirty years later Richard Branson’s treatise on commerce and trade was playfully entitled ‘Business Stripped Bare’.  The meme transcended time, accrued equity, and mutated creatively.

Glenn Sparks/Collective Producer

Marcel Duchamp with “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even”

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