Whether it’s Grumpy Cat, Boromir or Futurama Fry, if you’ve spent even a few minutes online, you’ve probably encountered and even helped spread a meme. A meme is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary, as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”
Online memes are usually a photo with a funny caption that get reposted or forwarded from friend to friend in e-mails. Memes usually occur spontaneously: someone creates a funny post and it gets forwarded and forwarded again in the cyber equivalent of a germy handshake. But now Hudson artist Justin Crowe has created a project he calls Meme the World (MTW) in which he seeks to create and document a meme from scratch.
Crowe’s MTW Project’s goal is to distribute coffe mugs to people around the world. Each mug has a photo of a kitten holding up a framed sign with the words, “Meme the World!” and instructions printed on the bottom that read:
1) Use cup,
2) Photograph your experience
3) Upload your photos to….
4) Pass the mug to a new person.”
MTW participants then upload their photos of their experience to the MTW website archiving their involvement along with hundreds or thousands of others. The MTW site already has a few dozen photos of people posing with the MTW mug, or the MTW mug in places like coffee shops and on the cobblestone streets of London. The MTW Participants can then follow the trail of their cup using unique cup identification tags as it is passed forward, photographed, pass forward, photographed, and passed forward again.
MTW is in the early stages and Crowe is currently raising money for the project through crowd sourcing on Kickstarter. According to the MTW Kickstarter page, Crowe “believe(s) in the cultural value of creativity. MTW archives ideas & experiences through the sharing of a simple object: The Coffee Mug.” But most of all, Crowe says, MTW is about fun. “This is an art piece that aims to collect photographs of participant’s diverse ideas, cultures, and environments in one place where everyone is connected by a shared experience.”
Crowe has raised about $1500 toward the required $5000 on Kickstarter. You can donate as little as you want, but with a $25 donation you’ll receive a MTW mug that’s been up cycled from a second hand store. For $30 you’ll get a handmade mug from Crowe, who has a BFA in ceramics and primarily works in clay. For $35 donation, you’ll get two MTW mugs, one to keep and one to send off into the world. There are also business sponsorships available and art for sale on the site by Crowe and other artists.
For more information about the Meme The World project, visit the MTW website (http://memetheworld.com) or Kickstarter fundraising site (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/882963751/meme-the-world)