Julio Iglesias, smiling and tanned, points his finger at you, with a mischievous look and tells you: “And you know it”. Someone, somewhere, for some reason, chose this image of the Spanish singer and added an overlay text to it.
Later, this artifact went viral on the networks and many other people used the same image to capture different funny or delusional ideas. Perhaps Iglesias is now better known among the younger generations for his memes than for his albums “And you know it.”
Thus, the image of the artist became a meme. Memes are often seen as an outgrowth of social media activity, digital junk for quick consumption, not a very respectable thing. But there are those who take these images much more seriously.
“We want to claim the meme as a cultural expression of society, as a reflection of who we are, even as an artistic expression,” says Juan Gómez Alemán, director of La Juan Gallery together with Rosa Ureta, promoters of the Festival of Culture on the Internet SoyMeme, which is being held from last weekend to this Saturday in Madrid: there are meme battles and workshops, round tables and even a memetron, a mechanism that transforms people into memes.
Memes arise wildly on the networks, in real time, in reaction to current affairs, with satirical, humorous or decidedly political intent. They deal with the heat wave, Victoria Federica Marichalar, the Andalusian elections, relationships or the current corruption case: the internet is the enormous machinery that turns reality into memes. Most soon fall into oblivion, but some chosen (by the masses) become part of the collective imagination.