Author: Ricardo Dominguez --- Date: 09/06/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC


Photo: Max Kossatz, The Thing Vienna

Memesis is our postcontemporary mirror, the screenal face that stares back at us when we log-on, an imaginary teleology that moves from micro-viruses to macro-parasites, from recombinant-robotics to nano-politics, and from possessed singularities to informatic ecologies. Geert Lovink's introduction to the on-line Ars Electronica Forum on "Memesis" opened the discussion as a strange attractor site for meme-xperts, cyberartists, bio-engeneers, and neo-liberal extropians. This neutral zone of public discussion has engendered a dense dialogue between all of the above, the gathering has also become a fray of third culture types jabbing at cultural critique, and some flaming of the group voice vs. individual signature--"I want to speak to a person not group," a recent interchange stated--and what is meme if not a type of supra-group entity--THE HIVE--that counters the old dreams of subjectivity that Newt and the gang are always preaching about. The future of evolution has become a virtual wrestling match between Darwin-on-the-right and Darwin-on-the-left.

But, whatever the level of response has been it is this most selfish of genes that has gained the high ground in the market place of ideas, it's all about (me)(me) selling itself at a high velocity--both as a hyper-survivalism a la Herbert Spenser and as the emergence of an important mutational force a la Ru Paul--or could it really be "the recommencement of the emancipatory project of modernity," or is it old Saint Augustine's call for a "Nihilism of the Flesh," or a pop-culture "hook" with a good beat and all of them dancing at the rave together in a state of cyber-ectasy. Memes are taking possession of our cultural narratives because they enact the process of memesis--monkey see, monkey do--our species has always had a super-abstraction to bow down to, we would dissipate without it, so we are always informed--if everyone wears these genes, then I better wear these genes and those who don't will become roadkill to the new mysticism of intergration under the signs of digital Dasein.

"Homo spaiens evolved from soft machines injected into our eco-system sent from Mars--aliens 'R us!" Screams my e-mail as I check in to hear the voices that come over the wires. Indeed as science and economy get into the same car to speed down the infobahn of gobal awareness the cyber-faith will grow--it must. The divide between spirit and flesh, man and man, man and woman, and anything else that might be drifting about will be united in perfect memesis of pure abiogenesis. One participant called on us to drop the "virus-fetish. Viruses are curiosities of nature. They are exceptions rather than the rule and have little to do with mainstream biology." But, he also added, "the memetic community won't let go of the virus metaphor THAT is the appeal of memetics. The mystical touch." It is this New Age digital convergence that is driving the hypermedia intergration of the market and pushing cyber-artisans to build a banal transparent technology for our future HIVE-state. THIS AIN'T NO DISCO!

The future of evolution is a breeding-out, a weeding out, of those who fail to invent within the folds of (dis)organic creation. Those who can't skin the Code and wrap it around themselves as a recombinant hallucination of bio-babble--will not be part of the estatic extropian implosion. The meme infection can, "contribute nothing towards the resolution of practical problems." What we must do, "is examine what the political, economic, and social obstacles to building a democratic and inclusive cyberspace. . . The refusal to be duped by the false promises of the memetic nirvana is an important step towards ensuring hypermedia is used to improve the daily lives of everyone." This call for hyper-emancipation by one of the participants will of course only be realized under the self-reinforcing processes of memetics, "where success breeds success. As confirmed by a mathematical model of meme transmission." In the end the future of evolution is part of--THE DON'T CALL US WILL CALL YOU--agenda, that has already dispersed it's silent (me)mos under our digi-skins. So don't forget to put on the right pair of genes today or you'll be left out tommorrow.

Ricardo Dominguez

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Emilio --

memesis: the future of dog food?