The Lecture this week focused on the idea that current marketing and consumer images, although devoid of actual meaning can still define and dictate a narrative or reality.
The breakdown of how it reaches this point is what I felt most improved my understanding of meme culture and how a single one actually becomes a common format. In the lecture, an image is described as being able to go through four stages:
- Reflection: represents a basic reality [a copy]
- Mask: covers up a basic reality [perverted copy]
- Illusion: substitutes the absence of a basic reality [pretending to be a copy]
- Simulacrum: bears no relation to any reality [simulates a basic real]
These are quite self-explanatory, but let’s run it through an example. Take any current meme format, say the Confused Sonic Movie Meme. Seen as below, often accompanied by the text above and little else.
The first step, Reflection would simply be a copy of this image with perhaps a comment on the movie representing a basic reality. The second step, Masking could be something like a rage comic face added to the image with a similar comment representing a perverted copy of the meme. The third step, Illusion could similar looking to the first too but in reference to something other than the movie, more specifically it would pretend to be a copy. The final step, Simulacrum would have no relation to the movie or the initial meaning of the image developed in sections 1,2,3 (in this case it acts like a confused emoji essentially) perhaps in the form of a heavily distorted meme and text that references something with seemingly no relation.