Devon Powers, Dena Yago, and Jillian Steinhauer at Optics: Brand as Visual Culture x Visual Culture as Brand at the ICP Museum (© Jacque Donaldson)

Tonight, the International Center of Photography (ICP) is talking memes — “from LOLCATZ to the appropriation of Pepe the frog as an alt-right symbol” — at their event, Optics: Going Viral — GIFs, Memes, and Insta-fame. The talk is part of their ongoing series, Optics: A New Way of Seeing Contemporary Culture, hosted by writer and editor Jillian Steinhauer. Steinhauer will be joined by Curator of Digital Media at the Museum of the Moving Image, Jason Eppink, and visual artist Andrew Kuo, discussing “the visuality, virality, and consumption of GIFs and memes in digital culture.”

Jillian Steinhauer is a Brooklyn-based journalist who won the 2014 Best Art Reporting Award from the US chapter of the International Association of Art Critics for her work with Hyperallergic. She has also been published in the New York Times, the New Republic, and The Nation, among other publications.

Eppink is a curator and designer whose works, according to the ICP, “emphasize participation, mischief, surprise, wonder, generosity, transgression, free culture, and anti-consumerism, and they are staged in public spaces and online as street art, urban interventions, and playful online services and hoaxes, frequently for non-consenting audiences.” At the Museum of the Moving Image, his work involves fields such as video games, interactive art, remix, GIFs, and online communities.

Andrew Kuo creates graphic abstract paintings out of language, numbers, color, and data. He creates mathematical equations and compositions on wood, canvas, and linen. Kuo also writes for the New York Times and has been exhibited worldwide.

Tomorrow night’s event is free, but the ICP asks that attendees register in advance.

When: Wednesday, December 5, 6:30–8:00 pm

Where: International Center for Photography Museum, 250 Bowery, Bowery, Manhattan

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Deena ElGenaidi

Deena ElGenaidi is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden in 2016, and her work has appeared in Longreads, Electric Literature,...