Fotomuseum Winterthur | Online Events | Wednesday, 18.10.2023, 19:00–20:00

Screen Walk with Aidan Walker

In this Screen Walk, Aidan Walker will guide the audience across the internet and through the history of the following three memes: Distracted Boyfriend, Patrick Chained and Dark Brandon. Tracing the web of reposts, remixes and "reply guys" that enables meme spread, he will lead a tour of the social internet as it existed between 2017 and 2023. When a scientist puts a GPS monitor on the foot of a migrating bird, they gain insight not just into that individual animal but into its flock, its species and its entire ecosystem. Memes are like those birds. Through following memes and their evolutions, we can gain insight not just into them but into the broader forces and systems that steer their movement – and, increasingly, our lives.

In Screen Walks, a series of live-streamed explorations of digital spaces, selected artists and researchers investigate artistic strategies taking place online. The project gives an insight into practices using the screen as a medium. From re-contextualising pictures found on online marketplaces and uncovering data brokers’ invisible circulation of images to analysing in-game photography and the social, political and economic implications of games – Screen Walks examines various approaches, offers a behind-the-scenes look at artists’ work and uncovers new, current and forgotten digital spaces. Screen Walks is a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery in London and Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Aidan Walker is a writer and editor at Know Your Meme, a large public meme archive and research site on the Internet. His Screen Walk is based on his article Where Do Memes Come From? The Top Platforms From 2010–2022. In it, he researched popular platforms from which memes emerged between 2010 and 2022, focusing on the path that the Distracted Boyfriend meme traced across different websites.

Walker has a BA in English from Reed College and has received an MA in History and Literature from Columbia University in Paris. He has published multiple reports and articles on various topics related to internet culture and digital art.

Screen Walks has launched a subscription model called Folders. Via a personal folder, subscribers receive access to exclusive content such as digital artworks by the artists participating in Screen Walks. Subscribe to Folders!

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