MEMETIC-TV - INTRODUCTION. ABOUT THE PROJECT AND MEMETICS.

Who am I and what am I doing here?

My name is Klaus-dieter Michel and I work as multimedia developer and artist in Manchester/UK. And as it often happens to be the case for a freelancing entity like me the pure requirements of survival are not always in peaceful harmony with one's artistic desires and concepts. In my case it means there is a friction between multimedia development or in other words 'creative industrial' work (based on the at least in Britain very popular term Creative Industries) and simply my art. Between both spheres must not always be a conflict, sometimes they have coped quite well, but at other times one doesn't know how to manage this struggle.

However - memetic-tv will become a brigde overarching both spheres.

Portfolio represents my creative industrial work in IT, E-learning, Gaming and Multimedia Arts. It shall give you an overview in words and images over most of the projects I was contracted for during my 'English years' (2000 - today).

MemoryTM a gaming and research project on visual memory - is my attempt to create and maintain a work section which stands for a good co-existence of creative industrial and artistic ways of working. As a gaming application it has commercial potential (I've managed to sell a number of adapted versions). With its approach towards visual arts, perception, pattern recognition, memory and visual storytelling it is to me clearly an artistic project.

Art Work is an online representation of my artistic laboratory. The subtitle "artistic practice beyond media" intends to indicate that media respectively information technology isn't the central focus point of the work. Instead the pieces, ideas and scetches under Art Work follow an idea of an extended artistic practice as much as possibly independend from institutial purposes. They might be using multimedia techniques but there will be material on installations, environments, sculptures and life art (performance) as well.

Theory backdrop - Memetics

The website's title memetic-tv is leaned on a relatively new scientific theory called Memetics. Memeticists attempt to develop a school of thought which can explain the cultural evolution of mankind with a similar comprehension as Darwinism and the discovery of the DNA helped to explain the phenomenons of the biological evolution.

In the centre focus of memetics is the meme (rhymes with cream). A meme is defined as a unit of cultural transmission. What a meme is in a practicle, popular sense turnes out to be much more fuzzy than the idea about what a gene is. However a meme can be a word, symbol, melody, logo, catchphrase, game or even religion or scientific theory. The important point about memes is that they are replicators. They are transmitted/copied between hosts or in other words: memes spread from one individuum's memory/knowledge to another one's mostly through imitation.

How successful a meme is depends essentially on three factors:

Copying fidelity How easy is it to make a faithful copy without loosing the meme's underlying characterics through the multiple copying process.

Fecundity the faster the rate of copying the more frequent the replicator will spread.

Longetivity the longer a meme instance survives in one's memory/knowledge the more often will it be copied to other hosts.

That sounds all pretty technical and cold you think. True. The theory has been received very controversally, particularly the impact that we all seem to be rather victims of meme attacks all around us than being self-determined human beings with a free will. But then again if we think of areas like media, politics and advertisement there is no doubt to me that something like memes exist. Recent examples of such succesful memes are the term WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) or the spread of the Nike logo.

What interests me is the aspect who makes, spreads and controls memes. Obviously this question is connected to power and financial potency. Although the Lexicon of Memetics contains the term memetic engineer the theory seems to abandon the aspect of the origins of memes. They seem to buzz around all over the place and memeticists are more concerned about the meme's technicalities than from where it's coming from and how has it been brought on its way. And important to me can an artist be a meme creator?

I will continue to study the genesis of memetics and will use what I learn as a matrix to play with particularly for projects within the MemoryTM and Art Work sections of this site. One example of my playful and not too serious use of memetics is the two-letter word tv in the title memetic-tv. This is a classical example for a global meme. Probably everywhere in the world these two letters provoke an immediate understanding that we are talking about television. Well wrong in this instance in my definition it stands for transmission vehicle according to the terminology of memetics.

If you want to study memetics more in detail you can find a small links collection on my Links page.

Thank you for your patience
memetic-tv, Klaus-dieter Michel


At the end here are three examples of commonly known visual memes.

meme - nuclear power meme - communism meme - yin yang