A series
Screw in a Lightbulb
The Creation of Fake History
Let It Be MEME .
Thug Life

Mr. Samuel R. Forkner



  The piece is displayed with a frame around a fatscreen television. The televisionscreen could be as small as 27 inches diagonally or up to 60 inches. The framesurrounding the television will be 50% of the height and 20% of the width.

This work consists of high-concept video-art presented in a frame as if it were a painting. The screen shows very-short flms on a loop with space in between them. These are Framed Memes.

The focus is on the creation of meaning from something which already has a meaning, especially since the viewer has seen at least some of the visuals before. Viral videos are those clips which have been shared so many times they are everywhere. The new meme relies on the fact that the viewer already has an idea associated with it. The new meaning comes as a visual gag and a sense of humor.

1. Screw in a Lightbulb – two memes are combined at the beginning. The cat that can’t handle a fower and the Interstellar Docking Scene Parody. By juxtaposition the two memes create the sense of something newsworthy, even if it is really only trivial. Then a talking head emphasizes just how important this is as it morphs into a
devilish fgure as everything burns up.

2. The Creation of Fake History – the frequently used nuclear bomb testing footage from the Los Alamos National Laboratory is the subject here. The use of music and montage creates a layer of contradiction. As if it is just a bright sunny day in the archives of a flm from the 1930s well before WWII.

3. Let It Be Meme – the footage of the Tsar Bomba is undoubtably viral. It was being recycled in documentaries even before New Media exploded onto the scene. I have mixed it with a clip that went viral from Australia’s Got Talent. The reaction of an audience member with mouth-open-wide, really wide, originally contained the
expression of surprise. Here I transform that expression into horror, before distortingthe face just as far as it can go. The face-shape changing is a reference to the Content Aware Scale work on YouTube.

4. Thug Life – is a series of videos made by many different people. The clips are very short and freeze at the climax, then an animated pair of sunglasses and a joint fall into place. My contribution to the Thug Life series comes from a very popular meme: the blooper-reel from the 1999 kids TV special “Goodnight Moon and Other
Sleepytime Tales.” It was uploaded to YouTube in 2011 and quickly went viral. This video was used for countless parodies. Creators played drums to it, guitar and piano, turned it into songs in various genres, made behind-scenes-footage of it and more. My piece uses looping techniques both musically and visually and is framed between two Wallies ( a meme on its own).

The meme is about creation of meaning from something which already has a meaning, especially since the viewer has seen at least some of the visuals before. Viral videos are those clips which have been shared so many times they are everywhere. The new meme relies on the fact that the viewer will already have an idea associated with the viral video which has been seen so many times. The new meaning will come as a visual gag with a sense of humor.

The juxtaposition of images compounds their meaning. It is easily accomplished by cutting different clips with a clear meaning together. It can also be done by superimposition. The frst way is from the realm of flm editing, but the second is from the world of animation. If the image from one meme is juxtaposed against another the artist may pick and choose from shades of expression. Eventually some of those new pictures and montage sequences stand out on their own.

By recreating some popular memes, I was able to increase the resolution of the video making it able to be displayed much bigger. I used all of my tricks as an editor to fip and copy images, change colors, sizes and durations. During this process, some magical moments were discovered – moments that popped up as worthy of a tributary.

Memes are a popular form of visual expression created by internet denizens, enabled by the phenomenon of “new media” that started in the middle of the last decade, the Noughties. The viewers of memes, the audience, are also users of a computer. On their devices they had a limited ability to cut and paste or add imagery and text but this was enough inspire market-fooding proportions of veryshort flms, often self-made humorous clips. They were enabled by cell-phones equipped with Vine or similar video-streaming software. With the spread of mobile devices in the last ffteen years, the average Joe has created millions of clips of something going wrong, someone blowing up, or something unexpected happening. The most
sensational are the most shared. Because of their constant availability, they frequently show up in advertising, flm and mainstream media which adds to their ease of recycling on the internet.

Memes are really made using only the most basic techniques, such as fgure cutout or stick fgure animation. But even though memes rely on basics, multiple visual layers can be compounded to create something new. Something more cartoon-like and malleable for the artist.

Nowadays, YouTube has settled down to be more of a regular TV channel and life has gone back to normal. The casual viewer doesn’t need to search for content anymore as it is piped-up hot by everything from Facebook to Line to Spotify. But there has been an irreparable change in the life of flm since the creation of newmedia, back in the day, back in 2005. And that was the creation of Memes: short video clips of a viral nature.

Techniques and materials

Digital art Video art

Size or Mins.


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