While cats are regular fixtures on many internets around the globe, some cultures tend to focus on different animals, while others rarely engage with animals online at all. In collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image, The Civic Beat, a global research collective looking at the creative side of civic technology, is assembling a map that examines some popular animals and memes, reflecting the vast diversity of internet cultures around the world.
The map project is part of How Cats Took Over the Internet, a new exhibition curated by Jason Eppink that offers a cultural deconstruction of the popular animal online. The map continues with this deconstruction by looking at other animal memes and meme cultures in global contexts, taking a quirky topic to offer a deeper look at the many diverse cultures that exist on the global web.
The map covers cultural appropriation of llamas in Mexico, Chile, and Peru; the grass mud horse in China; goats in Uganda, the United Kingdom and Brazil; cats in Japan and Pakistan; hyenas in Kenya; bears in Russia; and internet cultures (such as Iran and Syria) where animals don’t generally have a large presence. Each entry is written by a researcher with experience in the country’s online context. The map will continue to grow throughout the course of the exhibition, and it will have a second life on a dedicated web site at a to-be-determined future date.
We are seeking meme submissions from internet researchers — academics, journalists, cultural critics, and others — in a wide variety of countries, including but not limited to:
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- and many others
We’re particularly interested in submissions from the global south and emerging and underrepresented internet cultures.
Ready to share your research?
Submissions should include the following:
- Your name
- Institutional affiliation and title
- Your research background
- Country whose internet culture you are studying
- A brief paragraph (3–5 sentences long) looking at an animal meme (or animal-based humor) most representative of the internet culture of the country you study and some of the social and cultural reasons for its popularity. (This will be trimmed down by the curators to about 2 sentences, but the extra content is helpful.)
- A few representative meme images, with English translations (if needed)
- Agreement to release the writing under a Creative Commons NC-BY-SA license.
Submissions are due October 9 to firstname.lastname@example.org; questions should be addressed to the same. We accept email or Google Doc submissions. No attachments please.
For more information, please see a brief write-up about the project here: