covfefe: language within a meme economy

19 July 2018

Thu 19 Jul, 6.30 – 9pm
SPACE Mare Street
£7 / £5 Tickets 

Join artist Ami Clarke for a talk on her work on memetic media and roundtable discussion.

In 2013, the Amsterdam based design collective Metahaven asked “can jokes bring down governments?” whilst in 2017, the question might have been: “can jokes bring down democracy?”

The distribution of news via social media is driven by the protocols and business models of platform capitalism, curated by algorithms amidst psychological profiling and the strategies of mass disinformation. This means that the old adage of whomsoever owns the press, owns the vote takes a new spin at an unprecedented scale.

Drawing on meme culture, where memes act as a form of social currency rife with exclusionary dynamics, we will be discussing how humour, and a particularly cruel jouissance, seeps through the retreat from empiricism to the post-truth political landscape of truthiness – that describes “the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support.”

We will be thinking about the conditions contributing to this post-truth milieu, from a posthuman perspective that welcomes the multitude of voices that challenge the absolute 'truths' of empire.  Wondering in what way ‘reason’ plays a part, if at all, as jouissance snakes through the cacophony of voices that include: AI/machine learning, Russian bots and Ukrainian troll farms, as well as older forms of reality distortion through tactics of dis-information by British firm Cambridge Analytica.

To help kickstart the discussion please read the short article: Trump has turned words into weapons. And he’s winning the linguistic war in advance of the event.


Ami Clarke is an artist, writer, educator and founder of Banner Repeater. She works within the emergent behaviours that come of the complex protocols of platform capitalism, focussed on the interdependencies between language and code amid the unacknowledged currency of data. Recent and forthcoming writing includes: ‘covfefe: language within a meme economy’, ‘de-leb’: collectively authored science fiction time-stamped on the blockchain, “Text as Market” Artists Re-thinking the Blockchain, published by Liverpool University Press, “The Currency of Data” Sonic Acts journal, ‘Ami Clarke: Author of the Blank Swan’ with Elie Ayache, and 'Low Animal Spirits': The Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 15, 2017. Her work is included inInformation edited by Sarah Cook (2016) - Whitechapel Documents in Contemporary Art and MIT press series. She has recently exhibited work at Xero Kline and Coma (2017), Centrespace Dundee (2016), ICA London (2016), Wysing Arts Centre (2016) and Hayward Gallery (2015).  

Banner Repeater is a reading room with a public Archive of Artists' Publishing and project space, opening up an experimental space for others, on a working train station platform, London. Ideas that come of early network culture: publishing, distribution, and dissemination, that lead to a critical analysis of post-digital art production, are shared in her practice as an artist and inform the working remit of Banner Repeater.