›Hope 2008–17, Version I‹

Attentive towards the politics of image circulation and the heritage of photomontage, in his long-term research project titled Hope 2008–17, Version I, D. H. Saur traces the dissemination and morphology of the HOPE meme, from its inception during the first Obama candidacy, until the recent election of Donald Trump. Saur’s work places the individually erratic manifestations of the HOPE meme in relation to one another, meticulously following their elaborate trails, links, and transformations in a forensic-like study.

With the advent of web 2.0, participatory modes of spectatorship gained visibility—with memes, viral jokes, modes of collective authorship and online popular protest spreading throughout social networks—often in the vicissitudes between radical and commercial potential, between commodification and the evolution of new vernacular forms. Hope skillfully traces these contradictory movements, offering an intricate cartography of an elusive subject.

*A mem (singular/ meme – plural) a cultural form or a cultural pattern, for example a song, a text, a picture or a video, which spreads via Internet with great consistency and momentum regardless the quality of its content. A mem usually represents a joke about or a comment to the original context of a picture or a text.

HOPE was created in 2008 by an artist, designer and entrepreneur Shepard Fairy, who lives and works in Los Angeles. The poster was created independent of the election campaign, but the profit gained from its sales was donated by Fairy for Obama’s election campaign fund. After the picture was shared online, there appeared multiple adaptions of it with various representatives of politics and pop culture. Thanks to the webpage ObamiconMe, in 2009 users could express various motifs in the format of the HOPE poster. More than 70000 pictures were uploaded to the webpage within two weeks.

More about the story of the HOPE-Meme here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/obama-hope-posters
D.H. Saur: Hope 2008–17, Version I, 2017, Collage auf Tyvek