research, work in progress

In an ongoing research Phenomeme (working title) Jan Rozman renders performative potentials of memetic[*] procedures.

Humans imitate the world around us from birth as we repeat the behavior of our parents. The mimetic nature of our society is reflected not only in how we learn, but also in what our goals and ambitions are, and perhaps most importantly, what role imitation plays the formation of identity. In the age of ubiquitous digitization, the gap of image mediation intervenes in the process of imitation. It’s interrupted and changed in ways that often go beyond the possibilities of the analog environments. The logic of digital information has been introduced, changing the image and its rules, thus changing the logic of its imitator. Phenomeme works at the intersection of organic, analog, and digital, at the intersection of image, experience, and event. As the main methodological procedures of the research Rozman introduces strategies of copying (duplication), imitation (repetition) and mimicry (blending), ranging from ironic personifications to attempts of becoming the other using somatic and digital memetic techniques.

Through work with repetition and variation and by exploiting the errors that occur in memetic procedures, he addresses issues of (physical) identity, reproduction, originality, and perfection. It questions the deep-rooted human desire for repetition and belonging. To whom or what do we want to belong? Who or what do we want to become? Where in the memetic world are identities formed? What’s the drive to repeat? What does it mean to be original? What role does empathy play in the copying process? Can we access the other in a deeper way than becoming its (surface) copy?

Phenomeme seeks to shake and shift the stable semiotic connections to facilitate critical thinking about the role of memes in digitized societies and to search for possible alternative readings for both digital and analog realities.

Research & Performance: Jan Rozman
Dramaturgy: Julia Keren Turbahn
Sound: Blaž Gracar
Executive Producer: Sabrina Železnik
Production: Emanat
Co-production residency: O Espaço do Tempo

[*] The term meme was defined by biologist Richard Dawkins, who says a meme is any idea that is repeated and multiplied through variation and selection. The word meme is used to denote language, stories, knowledge, habits, patterns, and behaviors that are transmitted through imitation. Internet memes: combinations of viral Internet content copied and modified by Internet users are commonly known as memes, but the term and memes’ presence are much broader.