@Beyond_Woke_Problematic

Interests:

Memes as smooth space, the diagrammatical, digital expenditure, Hyperstition,

Spectacle, dada

Semiotics, detournement, digital ecosystems

 

@Beyond_Woke_Problematic is an admin, or “shitposter,”  of a niche philosophy memes on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He likes to think of his online space as a war machine to de- and re-code cultural production and re-route the algorithm by deterritorializing the flows of memes via the tools in his wheelhouse: defamiliarization, detournement, transgression, minor narratives, conceptual personae, and hyperstition, mimetic desire. At the very least he hopes his memes prompt people to engage in difficult obscure ideas gatekept by academia, not only  by showing what a meme can do, not just what it signals or counter signals. While he does not consider himself an “Artist,” as such, he sees the value and potential of the visual medium, much like the Dadas of the first half of the 20nth Century.

James N. Powell

Ill: Joe Lee

1998

 

High school - 16

 

I was at a bookstore, looking through the philosophy section, when came upon green book with a comic drawing of American Gothic, except with Madonna, a Skelton in a suit holding  an electrical plug in place of the pitchfork , with the illuminati pyramid with the eye in place of the As a teenager, I got into Continental Philosophy before I knew what that term even meant, perhaps through mimetic desire.

 

It’s a cliché, but it’s true—as American student interested in philosophy attending a state school, you have to venture into the Comp Lit department (if your school still or ever had one) to even learn about Hegel, let alone all these sexy French thinkers. Rutgers is a big analytical school. Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy for STEMs. So, I settled for Freud and Freud-related discourse, whether it was in History class, a German literature, Russian class on Dostoevsky, Gender Studies class on fin de siècle sexuality—he was everywhere.

 

The years following graduation, I fell out of learning and keeping up on philosophy. But though memes I got back into reading philosophy to understand memes. I re-read Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and read most of Deleuze, including the big ones (Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense).Eventually, I worked my way back from Hegel to Kant, and along the way, got bold and stated posting my own memes to various Facebook groups.

 

The concept for the page came to me one day on Facebook after seeing a Marianne Williamson-Hegel meme (Phenomenology of Spiritual Memes on Facebook)—one that contrasted Nick Land/Nietzsche/Deleuze testosterone cyberpunk dystopia with Spiritual new age woke feminist Hegelian utopia (think solar punk). I thought to myself, half-jokingly, we need to get beyond this binary (why not both?)—We need to move beyond woke and problematic. From then on I decided to start a vaguely Nietzschean experiment where I would play philosopher-artist-bricolage on Instagram, at the time when philosophy memes, Deleuze and Battelle, CCRU memes in particular, were everyone but Instagram (“Phil Book” [Facebook], Cave, Frog Twitter, reddit, etc.).