Art in memetic terms

Wed, 3 Feb 1999 18:17:38 GMT

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 18:17:38 GMT
From: UEA <>
Subject: Art in memetic terms

how would one define 'Art' in memetic terms?

could anyone propose good examples of memetic 'intervention' / memetic


memetic engineering, maybe:

I guess this could be answered in part by an article I read of recently in the Telegraph (26/1/99). The article is by Prof
Vilayanur Ramachandran (UCSD), forthcoming in Journal of Consciousness Studies.
This paper allegedly "will lay down eight artistic universals, 'which artists either consciously or unconsciously deploy
to optimally titillate the visual areas of the brain.'"
It seems like there's even some empirical evidence, too! Anyway, although I suppose it won't mention memes
directly, it is these kind of concepts that I believe memetics should be looking for - things that are essentially a handle
on how and why ideas are promulgated.
So a cave drawing that contains a high portion of these universals is more likely to be copied and remembered (at
least according to the theory) than others which don't. If these universals are useful concepts, the theory is testable
memetically (e.g. by getting people to copy drawings with high/low presence of these universals). Basically this theory
has selection and retention stamped all over it. This kind of area is, I believe, where thinking in memetic terms could
be useful. . . .

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