Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Todd Jurgess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Dykins-Callahan, Ph.D.


4chan, Dada, Neil Cicierega, Pokémon, SiIvaGunner, YouTube, Yu-Gi-Oh!


In the late 90s and early 2000s, computers and internet usage became more widespread. This widespread usage led to a proliferation of “digital objects” (digital versions of audio, video, image, text, etc.) dispersed through the internet. The instant and near-infinite reproducibility of digital objects combined with their ease of manipulation by computer users has led to their widespread recognition and use as tools of communication online. As a consequence, technology has allowed those traditionally thought of as consumers to become cultural producers by repurposing digital media objects. Because of this, internet remix of digital objects is one of the best ways that internet culture has found to talk about itself. Internet remixes, which repurpose digital objects and themselves are distributed digitally, are a discerning self-reflexive medium to use as a lens to understand digital culture.

The formal techniques of these internet remixes echo previous art movements that employed repurposing, particularly the Dada and Surrealism movements of the early 20th century. They are also similarly motivated as they reflect Dada’s focus on blasphemous shock and absurdity, as a rejection of elitist institutions of authority, and Surrealism’s interest in the everyday experience and shared imagination. With internet usage so commonplace, digital objects and experiences have become the new everyday environment for many.

These remixes reveal the use of humor as taking a primary position in online communication. This humor is then used to signal shared ethos and experiences that lead to the formation of communities with these shared “imaginaries” – collective social fact – as their binding glue.

Included in

Communication Commons