Exploring Rhizo-Memetic Art: A Theory of Cultural Contagion for Transdisciplinary Practice




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Peer reviewed



Contemporary discourse in the field of Memetics offers insights upon the ways and means of producing and curating contemporary Performance beyond the limits of discipline specific taxonomies. Alongside the rise of Internet Culture and the rapid adoption of social media, it is agued that contemporary artistic practice is becoming 'more fluid, elastic, and dispersed' (Cornell, 2014: online). Given this circumstance, the research acknowledges that notions of disciplinarity, performative agency and materiality remain in a state of flux and in need of reconsideration.

Utilising a Practice Research (PR) framework, the researcher initiated an innovative three-phase methodological approach based on insights drawn from the concept of the 'Meme as analogous to the Gene' (Dawkins, 1974) alongside a primarily Deleuze and Guattarian philosophy upon methods of artistic production and the curation of performance. The resulting praxis: 'Rhizo-Memetic Art' produced three practical outputs including the hyper textual assemblage 'Corpus 1' produced collaboratively online with users of Twitter and Facebook ; the 'Florilegium: Exhibition' (3rd-24th November, 2014) - produced and curated by an invited group of contributing artists, and 'Florilegium: Remix' (24th April, 2015) - an intermedia' Live Art lecture. Each of these practical outputs plug into the exegetic writing, and alongside the documentation of it's artefacts, these elements produce the thesis.

The outcomes of this PR include an innovate understanding of the mechanisms of interdisciplinary practices emerging out of a synthesis of meme and rhizome theories. The implications of this research suggest that the functioning of Rhizo-Memetic Art raises permanent questions about the status of 'Performance' in terms of its materiality and efficacy outside the limitations of disciplinarity.




BURROWS, J. (2017) Exploring Rhizo-Memetic Art: A Theory of Cultural Contagion for Transdisciplinary Practice. In: Proceedings of Theatres of Contagion - Infectious Performance Conference, London, May 2017. Birkbeck University of London: pp. 7.


Research Institute

Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies