Archive for the ‘meme’ Tag

All Hail The Arranger?

James Joyce is dead. The mischievous Arranger lives.

In 2009, ever more epic feats of creativity will be determined by the Arranger. Not a single mind scripting, drawing, sculpting, painting. But allowing things to happen. Then ordering them.

What the hell am I talking about? Here comes the three-way…

1. Mobilise

Fifty People, One Question: London by Crush + Lovely on Vimeo.

One kind of Arranger starts by mobilising. E.g. ask a single question to 50 people. Record what happens and arrange it. This is close to a notion of the meme but retains editorial control.

Think Sleeveface. Or even the new Saatchi & Saatchi spot for T-Mobile.

2. Scavenge


“One (Two, Three, Four)” by Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström, 2009.

The Scavenger Arranger does a similar thing in reverse. He/ she is more of an archivist. It’s a retrospective arrangement.

You have an idea then set out to aggregate the material. Here Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström found four different videos of kids playing Metallica on YouTube. Then they arranged and syncopated.

In adland, the Nokia Comes With Music campaign is a prime example. Idea first – track names spell out a message – then find the track names to achieve it.

3. Anatomise

Little Girl Loves Aphex Twin by IDMWEIGHTSIDM on YouTube.

The microscopic approach. The Anatomist Arranger will take a single passage in time, or a single event, then pull it apart. There’s an obvious analogy with remixing.

No new content is initiated or created. But the existing material re-spliced. Collagists like Cutup Collective fit this mould. And in some ways, it’s where those 1920s modernists – and Dadaists – began.

Is the Creative dead? Should we all hail the Arranger?

Update #1:

Iain at Crackunit has written at an extensive post on ‘mass collaboration’ advertising. Follow the debate on ‘Life Is For Connectedly Sharing Better.’

Update #2:

Read a section in Wikinomics last night that sums up this phenomenon far better than I did:

“… we are moving from the concept of emergence as a consequence of raw self-organization – the idea that the independent agents acting together unwittingly create some new thing (so-called “order for free”) – to a recognition that self-organization can also be encouraged and even orchestrated…” (p.44)

Literally A Meme?

When is a meme not a meme? And what is a meme?

I thought an English lit. grad with a penchant for pedantry should take it to task. But I could quickly prove myself wrong. Let’s see.

If you clicked the above link you’ll have read about the Hamster Dance and Rickrolling. That Wiki doesn’t yet include the literal video. So here’s what I’m talking about:

Dustin McLean‘s literal take on A-Ha now has now had over 2m YouTube views. That’s viral, right?

So since he’s done it again, with different videos, does that make it a meme? Here are the next instalments – using Tears For Fears…

… and Red Hot Chilli Peppers:

These are all very funny. Don’t get me wrong. But is this a “catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the internet”?

Well, it’s spread to the extent that it’s been imitated. There’s a literal video for U2 without subtitles. And the Rick Astley version by Joe Sabia cannibalises another meme – check the subtitle on the preview!

Two things I want to flag here: sharing and evolution.

Obviously these videos have been shared – and I’m sharing them now. But is it evolving?

Rickrolling was a form of anarchy that spread beyond the internet. Anyone could do it. It was simply a trap/ device. That’s not the case with the literal video. It has made Dustin McLean (more?) famous but, so far, the concept has been too well-honed to imitate on a mass scale. The layman can’t repeat the act.

Until Joe Regular can repurpose, evolve, mutate the meme… I’m not sure it’s a meme. Then again, I’m sure a scientist could define “meme” better than an English lit. a**hole.

I should take my fat words and go Mcroll myself…