tumblr meme culture is really just a form of neo dadaism
I’d like to clarify:
dada was a largely european art movement that took place after wwi. this time and place is not a coincidence. let me explain.
dada art made no sense. the artists who made dada lived in a world in which nothing made sense - in which conventional logic led to the senselessness of a world war. so, making art that made no sense, making - well, you can’t really call it art, so making ANTI-art that rejected the conventions that brought about that atrocity in the first place - it made total sense. (if that makes any sense.)
so the artists did weird things. new things! putting things that were already made together and calling it sculpture, cutting up bits of pictures and putting them together and calling that something to frame - this site has some nice examples.
but from my perspective - there’s serious intellectual continuity between the absurdity of attaching a bunch of tacks to the bottom of an iron, rendering it useless, and say…. bath bomb posts. Put a fucking macbook in a bath. it’s useless now. Nobody fucking cares anymore. you want something funny? you want a punchline? gun. that’s your punchline. Take it. I am laughing
in a way it could be a method of venting some of the frustration and hopelessness and dissatisfaction that tumblr’s userbase (largely, disenfranchised millennials) feels in the modern day. I can’t really speak for anyone else, but… at least from a US perspective, there’s plenty to be disillusioned about. growing up in a constant state of questionably justified war, income inequality, an economic recession caused by the actions of a handful of wealthy fucks who didn’t even get properly punished, growing awareness of police brutality, being called lazy and self-absorbed by the generations that gave us these problems in the first place… I can’t help but think that these factors (and more) could produce a similar mindset to the one that precipitated the first dada movement.
so of COURSE we make nonsense jokes. it’s a coping mechanism for a world which doesn’t make any sense.
related: this isn’t by tumblr but I have to plug UCLA’s atrocity of a virtual gallery once more. it really needs to be experienced, but… it’s definitely also millennial neo dada. from the presentation (like an unplayable video game) to the content (THE DOGS HAVE ARRIVED), it is exactly what I am talking about. it is a fucking shitpost. and it’s high art, too! I love this
tl;dr: my generation is fed up with this bullshit, and the best way that we can express that is by shitposting. alternatively, dada was an early precursor to modern shitposting and we should all thank duchamp for signing a fucking urinal
a dear friend has given a perfect update to some of my phrasing, courtesy of their word replace extension:
you see this? this is exactly what I’m fucking talking about. the thing that I’m talking about is: