Memphis Stream: Axel Stockburger
In this context, Memphis and Hello World present a new work by Viennese artist Axel Stockburger.
The work is part of a series of videos entitled “Ekphrasis” that engages with the phenomenon of internet memes, often humuorous images which are produced, copied, interfered with and spread by users of social media platforms.While these memes emerged with the beginning of the world wide web, their social and political function as tools for propaganda has recently increased significantly. Particularly since the US presidential elections of 2016, the use of memes as subliminal element of communication has become evident. In the Ekphrasis series of videos, different people are asked to describe the image content of selected memes in detail and to analyse their affective impact from a subjective perspective. In this sense, these image text constructs, which are often just glimpsed for a moment in the flow of a social network platform, are translated into spoken language, thereby giving the viewers the role of the medium.
“Ekphrasis – The God of Kek II” invites an artist to describe the infamous “Pepe the Frog” meme. This particular meme became well known through its viral use by the so-called alt-right movement and people who refer to themselves as “meme-magicians” in the US election campaign of 2016. The history of this image is a complex process of appropriation and re-valuation, from a harmless cartoon character to an international symbol of hate.