About this project
Ladies and Gentlemen
Hello and Welcome to MemeFactory’s Kickstarter page.
More than a year ago, a friend looked at us after a MemeFactory performance and said “you guys should write a book.” We all laughed. When a stranger said the same thing two months ago, we stroked our collective beard in deep consideration...
Over the last couple years we’ve traveled far and wide performing and speaking about Internet Culture, as The Three Guys from MemeFactory but also independently. We’ve worked with Know Your Meme, we’ve talked with The New York Times and NPR; one of us is even pursuing a Ph.D in lulz at NYU (yes, really).
Along with having amassed a vault of images and video, we’ve also managed to stumble upon what we think are some very interesting ideas about user generated culture, some of which require a little more explanation than a 45 minute lecture with three projector screens. And we would love to share those ideas with you. In snazzy, jazzy, zazzy BOOK FORM.
The MemeFactory Txt.book
Chock-full of the media we study, this text will contain ideas of use and interest to all corners of web culture: from b-tards to moral-fags, from redditors to SA goons, from "academics" to furries.
In case you’re still wondering what the book will actually be like, consider:
Will Goatse make an appearance in the book? Probably.
Will it also be a usable classroom text? Absolutely.
Has this ever happened before? Good god, we hope not.
At end of this wild and crazy ride, the finished book will be available as a FREE CC-BY Licensed PDF on http://memefactory.org. First print editions will be sold exclusively at MemeFactory shows; future print editions will be available pending demand.
TOTALLY UNOFFICIAL UNFINISHED OUTLINE OF BOOK:
A brief and incomplete history of sharing media on the internet. Starting with the internet coke machine and moving all the way to the very moment before we hit print on the manuscript, we’ll outline the jokes and trends that have made the web what it is today. (And hopefully it won’t cause Jason Scott to throw his Odd Job™ hat at us).
MEMES ARE A MEME
By late 2007 so many sites were collecting, displaying and producing internet memes that memes became a meme. Our minds were blown. We’ll try and figure out what this means, and if consequences or the world will ever be the same. Spoiler alert: they won’t.
WEB-CAMERAS ÜBER ALLES
Remember when people didn’t post video of themselves on the web? We barely do. From the famous and infamous, to the fam-o and embarrassed... we’ll track the faces and personalities that have changed our idea about who deserves to be a celebrity. We’ll also include a bunch of silly quotes. Especially when taken out of context. Like this one: “If it's on the Internet for one second, it's on the Internet forever.” -Perry Aftab
Increasingly everyday communication involves the combination of texts and images. Advertisements and TV and movies – yes – but also multimedia messaging services, emails and animated GIFs are making the form of image with caption or subtitle or overlaid language ubiquitous. What does this mean for the future? IS LANGUAGE CHANGING FOREVER? Maybe not, but also, maybe. Neat!
THE HAIKU OF THE INTERNET
“Advice Dog is basically the haiku of the internet.” --Our Super Smart Friend Wythe Marschall
Image Macros of all shapes and sizes can express pretty much any idea, from the mundane to the disgusting. Just like poetry, each type has its own rhythm. We’ll identify the range of these forms – from the Epic Ballad of Dogfort, the Rhyming Limerick of Rage Guy’s, all the way to The Advice Dog Haiku.
There are two kinds of ownership at work on the internet. There’s capital “O” ownership: a person or corporation Owns the copyright to a piece of media. But then there is the more ersatz idea of ownership experienced by the “punk” “infringing” on that copyright: the media was made for them to consume and is probably hosted on a platform which they have intimate knowledge of. Which side of this Ownership War is more noble? Is noble even the right way to think about it?
MORE VAN GOGHS
Pessimists say that spending too much time on the internet has kept us from creating anything of any real cultural worth lately. They gesture wildly towards the past – towards Einstein, Mozart, Van Gogh. Does our love affair with our they-think-for-us-so-we-don’t-have-to machines mean there will never be another Einstein? Do torrents of pirated media mean no more Mozarts? How will there ever be another Van Gogh if Google scans all the paintings??? To be perfectly honest we don’t get it. And we’ll tell you why. WITH VIGOR.
MORE CHAPTERS TBD...???!!!
We wanna make it to 150-200 pages...so who knows what else might make it in there? Cats? Probably! Guest contributions? Fingers crossed! Meme Crossword Puzzle? THAT’S A GREAT IDEA! (not really.)
MemeFactory the Textbook will exist in 3 formats:
An ever updated and always changing catalog of the work we’re doing to prepare for both this book and our shows – our research database will contain finished chapters, entries, fragments, presentations, and all the media we harvest in the process. All media will be locally stored, so if another Downfall happens, we’ll be safe. This will be opened to $500 level donors in mid-April and open to the public once book printing is complete.
The full text will be released as a free-to-download PDF as soon as we’ve finished the first edition. On top of that, as we research new shows we’ll be adding and updating chapters ‘cause...you know...the internet keeps changing. And so do we.
Ideas: now in dead-tree form. We’re going to print a short-run of first editions for our awesome (that’s you guys) funders. WITH QR CODES! Because videos don’t print right. If there’s crazy demand, there might be future printings, but the best bet is to get in now.
March - May: Sketches being compiled and drafts written now
June - August: Full time work begins spending the summer cranking this bad boy out
August (or September): Hopefully to press by August.
CASH-FUNDING BREAK DOWN
Given the estimates for printing costs (and like t-shirts and posters and stuff) our calculators indicate that we’ll probably net between 8 and 10k if funded. That breaks down to about 1000 dollars for each of us for each of the 3 months of full-time writing. Given NYC housing costs...we’re pretty sure that’ll cover living expenses. (Winky smiley face).
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