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In thinking about Steyerl’s “In Defense of the Poor Image,” the first thing that came to mind was the recent phenomenon of “deep frying” images, putting them through an obscene amount of filters and jpeg artifactification, to the point of near unrecognizability.

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It’s not about the meme itself, ┬áthe “real” focus, which can and often is funny alone. Humor also comes about as a result of its own “conditions of existence,” as Steyerl puts it. Deep fried memes are meant to deliberately emulate the effect of reposting an image over and over to different sites, progressively getting more and more compressed and low-res, but to a degree that’s humorous because no one would– or should– be posting them at the point they have reached. I’d think that the biggest difference would be its initial creation. In the piracy of cinematic images, the creation of the cinematic image was not done in anticipation of it becoming poorer. That happened in its distribution. But in this scenario, both the creation and distribution are done by and for the people, even for the explicit purpose of becoming poorer. And in a sense I think they are writerly, too– the act of reposting a deep fried meme fries it even further, participating in making the image poorer through sharing it. There’s a sense of community as well as the sense that you’re supposed to be doing exactly this. This is what the meme was created for. In this way I think deep fried memes avoid feeding into the “capitalist media assembly lines ” that traditional cinematic poor images being circulated would.

 

One Comment

  1. Quality explanation. Very informative and well analyzed.


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