The Framework

To answer these questions, the Language of Internet Memes was engaged, scrutinized and exploited through a series of creative endeavors with pedagogical implications taking Barone and Eisner’s (2012) notion of ABER as a jumping off point…


…and peppering in notions of interrogating media from within, through the conventions that shape them, with concrete research and/or pedagogical intentions.




From Brakhage’s foray into investigating the limits of visual perception through experimental films to Faden’s notion of writing with media that shows and doesn’t just tell, the present research is branded as Medium-centric in the sense that it identifies the conventions of a given medium, the Language of Internet Memes, that is then explored by through these same conventions. At times these explorations were conducted strictly adhering to the Language of Internet Memes, akin to McCloud’s (1994) examination of the comic book medium through a comic book. Other times, not unlike Fraser’s (1991) performance/institutional critique at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, these explorations purposely pushed against some meme conventions in hopes of revealing the underlying agendas at work within Internet Memes.

As such the researcher, myself, must become a shape shifter of sorts depending on the vantage point employed…


…and not only analyzes data but generates it as well within the conventions of an increasingly visual information landscape brimming with potential insights for the researcher willing to engage it.


In the middle of this confluence of theoretical and practical approaches, and as a nod to Amerika’s (2007) VJ as creative writer, I offer the figure of an RJ sampling from five major fields of study…


… in an effort to understand each meme instance as an object resulting from actor-networks, where actants include internet culture, the values and users that inform it, the software they use, the source material that uses them and the particular brand of meme literacy at play.

1990s Problems vhs

1990’s Problems (Click for Source) Actants: a decade, a TV Character, a movie, the VHS videocassette containing it, the tape that must be rewound to watch, the spectator whose movie night was ruined by the negligence of the previous customer are all among some of the entities that interrelated & spawned this Image Macro. And that’s saying nothing about the one user that captioned this particular instance of 1990’s Problems; all mediating software; the actor James Van Der Beek; the show Dawson’s Creek; the scene, director, editor, script and screen writer that called for and resulted in Dawson’s particular brand of weeping. Finally there is something to be said also about the literacy required to read, engage and rewrite it.