Copies, Creativity, and Contagion

Today a range of audiovisual content can “go viral”: shared across social networks and different media platforms to reach an audience of millions in hours. But this phenomenon is not new, and a consideration of the technical, bio-political and corporate labor that precipitate the conditions for contemporary viral events, reveals striking similarities with the conditions of artistic production in the early modern period, when printed images were sent across the world in the first wave of globalization. Generating Internet memes and copying prints both rely on transferring technical skills, the creation of a shared visual culture and the construction of a global infrastructure that allows images to move across space. This exhibition considers aspects of the viral image — from prints to memes — considering the aesthetic, social and political implications of copying, liking and sharing.

Duration: August 2020

Curated By: Copies, Creativity, and Contagion Students Summer 2020

Acknowledgements: Special Thanks to Sean Knowlton, Michelle Gibeault, Jeff Rubin

Exhibit Sections