Meme Music

Holger Schulze
Meme Music

(Course Code: HMVB01601U)


Every Thursday


Music and sound art these days takes place to an ever growing extent online on social media and streaming platforms. The tiniest snippets of sound and video can gather a planetary audience and the simplest alterations to an existing track or composition might just create a new musical piece or propose a whole different musical aesthetics: 8-Bit versions of major hits, disturbing cut-ups, incredibly slowed down pieces, sonified datasets and assemblages of image, text and sound.

In this course, we explore together the history of this musical practice, its most recent aesthetic examples, and the theoretical discourse that has evolved around this craft and artform. We will discuss the political appropriations of musical genres and pieces, we will question memes as coping strategies in times of doubt, catastrophe, and anxiety, we will investigate, how memes constitute a new musical culture, and we will analyze how memes can even be part of teaching practices.

In this course we will also be reserving enough space for new memes of the week to be analyzed – and we might even develop together new memes and try to disseminate them.

Basic references

Born, G. & Haworth, C. (2017), “From Microsound to Vaporwave: Internet-mediated Musics, Online Methods, and Genre”, in: Music and Letters 98 (2017), no. 4, S. 601-647.
Bown, A. & Bristow, D. (2019), Post Memes. Earth, Milky Way: punctum books.
Goldsmith, K. (2016), Wasting Time on the Internet. New York: Harper Perennial.
Goriunova, O. (2016), “The Force of Digital Aesthetics. On Memes, Hacking, and Individuation” The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics, 24(47). https:/​/​​10.7146/​nja.v24i47.23055
Goerzen, M. (2017), ”Notes Towards the Memes of Production”, in: Texte zur Kunst 106 (Juni 2017), S. 87-108. https:/​/​​106/​uber-die-meme-der-produktion/​
Nagle, A. (2017), Kill All Normies, London: Zero Books.
Phillips, W. (2015), This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, Cambridge/Mass.: The MIT-Press.
Schulze, H. (2020), “Memblematik”, in: Schulze, H. (2020), Ubiquitäre Literatur. Eine Partikelpoetik, Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, p. 62-64 (translation into English is in preparation).
Shifman, L. (2013), Memes in Digital Culture, Camb./Mass.: The MIT-Press.


KUA2 16.4.74 / Zoom