Valentina Tanni – Memestetica. Il settembre eterno dell’arte


Nero Editions, ISBN-13: 978-8880560982, Italian, 247 pages, 2020, Italy

Valentina Tanni is a prominent Italian historian of internet art. She has researched and developed a sophisticated discourse about internet visual subcultures. In this book she discusses memes at large and their dynamics in parallel with contemporary art. In twenty-four short, agile chapters, she articulates the memes’ sophisticated mechanisms, diffusion strategies and especially cultural and media meanings, referring to artists and art categories. Furthermore, she uses her extensive knowledge of the popular internet, and its tendency to appropriate and manipulate images. Amateur access to image editing software, spontaneous conceptual outcomes and their consequences, rough elaborations and meme aesthetics (hence the title) are all scrutinised. These are short-circuits to visually represent the contemporary moment for the masses. This twenty-first century digital folk culture is interpreted through a range of schoalrly references and supported by a substantial range of illustrations, including plenty of ‘found images’, underlying the prevailing loss of sources. Together with Lialina & Espenschied’s ongoing studies of ‘internet folklore’, Tanni knowledgeably explores modes of communication that are exceptionally relevant to present cultural changes. A much needed text, which hopefully will be translated into English soon.