• Democratic societies theoretically give people the ability to express themselves freely and engage in social discourse. Before social media, however, only the elite with some measure of social capital were heard through mainstream media.


    As smartphone technology and social media platforms were developed, everyday people were better able to participate in social discourse, dispersing their "regime of truth from the bottom up." Internet memes became units of democratic expression and works of art in their own right, provoking emotional response and affecting discourse far beyond the digital sphere. They became important "texts" of cultural understanding, worthy of serious consideration, and today have evolved into vehicles of disinformation, as truth is constructed and debated by various "online experts." They present indecipherable nuggets of fact and fiction, and shape the body politic in many ways.


    This site pays tribute to them as cultural unit of discourse, provides a record of the Know What I Meme? research and art exhibit held at Old Dominion University in 2019, and provides additional research related to memes by the author.

  • About the Author

    This site was originally created for a Master's Thesis project in 2019. As a graphic designer, animator, artist, and visual communicator, memes represented a fascinating combination of image, text, concept, and culture, that anyone could create and influence thought and action. I first became intensely aware of the power of memes when a Hoodie meme appeared on my feed in 2012 (see the Paridigm Shift artist statement in the Exhibit Artwork section). With political voices and AI co-opting the social media space, skepticim and differing constructed realities abound. Do memes hold the same power as they used to? I believe they do and as I create artwork for various spheres and study International Relations (see Gliddon Owens Design), I continue to be fascinated by the ways in which they affect culture and society.