It’s a Meme, Meme World (1)
It’s a Meme, Meme World (2)
It’s a Meme, Meme World (3)
It’s a Meme, Meme World (4)
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More than online entertainment, meme culture has evolved into cultural currency

Delving into this evolving form of cross-communication, we visited the collaboration between K11 Art Museum and Hong Kong-based humour site, 9gag, to explore the meme phenomenon.

While “meme culture” as it is now began taking shape in the early 2000s to mid-2010s, the term “meme” was coined by leading evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, in his 1979 book, The Selfish Gene. Defining evolution as a continuous flow of information between organisms and their environment, for Dawkins the heartbeat of life lay at the relay of information. “If you want to understand life,” said the biologist, “think about information technology.”

“Dark humour” and “absurdist humour” are staples of meme culture, sometimes coming together to ridicule the larger-than-life issues that face the current global society.

Millennials and Generation Z, highly active within meme culture and facing a bleak and peculiar future, dive into these offbeat humours, fully embracing them both online and in real life.

So, what are the defining characteristics of a meme? Above all, a meme must be memorable.

Text Victoria Mae Martyn / Photos Victoria Mae Martyn & Cammy Yiu