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July 25, 2015
By Mike Winder

The Memes They Are a-Changin’

An Xiao Mina MFA 13 Media Design Practices

Think you know your memes? If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve probably run across the likes of Grumpy Cat, Scumbag Steve or, one of our personal favorites, Art Student Owl.

Those viral images and videos that people modify and spread across the Internet are always good for a laugh, but at the TEDGlobal 2013 conference in Edinburgh, Media Design Practices alumna An Xiao Mina took the stage and shed light on how individuals across the globe are turning memes into “the street art of our social web.”

In her talk, Mina provided examples of how people in both democracies and censorship states have used memes to speak out on controversial issues, from the detainment of Ai Weiwei to the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

“These memes are about more than humor,” Mina said on the TED blog. “They do what art and visual expression have always done—make us feel less alone.”