Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? Memes, Design and Politics

Metaheven belong to one of the few graphic design practices that question politics, institutions and the future of the practice itself. Their book Uncorporate Identity is a must read for designers (and not only) amongst other projects such as the logo for WikiLeaks. Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? Memes, Design and Politics is another gem:
These are serious times, or so our governments keep telling us. Strangling economies with their austerity policies, they assure us that they have no choice. In a world where “there is no alternative”, how do you dissent? Once upon a time, graphic designers would have made political posters and typeset manifestos. Today, protest has new strategies. Enter the internet meme. With its Darwinian survival skills and its viral potential, the meme is a way of scaling up protest. Hackers and activists have learned to unleash the destructive force of a Rick Astley video. They have let slip the Lolcats of war. Pranks have become a resistance strategy. As the rise of Beppe Grillo in Italy testifies, this may be the hour to fight nonsense with nonsense. Jokes are an open-source weapon of politics, and it is time to tap their power.ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Metahaven is an Amsterdam-based design collective specialising in politics and aesthetics. Founded by Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk, Metahaven’s work reflects political and social issues through research-driven design, and design-driven research. In 2010, Metahaven published Uncorporate Identity, a design anthology for our dystopian age, with Lars Müller Publishers. Vinca Kruk teaches editorial design at ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Arnhem. Daniel van der Velden teaches design at Yale University, New Haven, and at the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam.

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