Artists and Factories and Memes, Oh My

We now understand what exactly the medium is the message means. We know it is an analytical tool utilized for the observations of what is happening around us. It is a deeper and more critical way of understanding the cultural, social and political atmosphere.

So, how do communicative paradigms fit into the medium is the message?

There are three paradigms discussed:

  • Non-Industrial
  • Industrial 
  • And Internet.


The non-industrial paradigm is encompassed with craftsmanship and physical products created by a creator. The materials the creator uses are for the purpose of not only what the creator intends but what the consumer will purpose of it. Skill is a requirement in this paradigm, as well as an aim for uniqueness. Creations are created for specific patronage, my example of this paradigm would be artists. 

 “Art does not rest exclusively to either on the side of creativity or on the side of appreciation.”

(Perricone 1990). 

They depend on the result of their creation to be of quality appreciated by the consumer, therefore there is risk entailed in the creation process, “… it is only after the artist has presented his work to an audience and the audience has responded that one can say the art has been fully realized” Perricone (1990).

 Experimentation and iteration are involved with the processes used, however the consumer can observe the stages of which the creation is made (ideation, production etc.) Changes in the cultural and social world contribute to this paradigm, “The internet was to become a mass medium around 2000… this was a welcome addition and permanent platform for international distribution” (Blanche 2016). This is in refrence to street art, a new sub-genre blooming into postmodernism when the internet was experimented with, “Internet ensured enough anonymity to be safe from criminal prosecution:” (Blanche, 2016 pg 2012)

 The medium of artwork constitutes change in it’s audience as it measures and influences the cultural, social and political atmosphere. 


The industrial paradigm is an enclosed one. Boundaries exist between the conceptual and the production. Industrial paradigms involve large masses of productions such as manufacturing. The result of the product is what you get. For example, clothing production “Fashion is necessarily a trend which is constructed by mass participation. To be ‘fashionable is to be with the trend..” (Chua 2003 pg26)

 There is no observation of process, only the receival of the certainty. The industrial paradigm is homogenic, bubbling with the production of sameness. The same process, with producers creating the same one step of the entire product. There is no room for customisation in this paradigm. Mass production means that this paradigm is encased in mass consumption. The consumers don’t get an interaction with this, the individuality is lost and consumers are merely an end of a closed repetitive cycle ““… any promises of ‘individuality’ through the consumption of such products must necessarily be false”  (Ewen 1976). However, some claim that creativity is found in the consumers themselves using the product, “Individuality is expressed through the ways in which fashionable items are configured to ones own body” (Chua 2003)

The large manufacturing medium is respondent to the messages of changing trends and ideals in the larger consumer community. 

Made With Procreate


The internet paradigm encapsulates the emergent media economic model. There is a consistent feedback loop between producers and consumers. In fact, consumers could themselves become producers. The digitalised consumption enables concept and production barriers to break down. Production is reliant on the mass consumption culture and is open for participation where pleased.

“Memes are idea complexes and meme vehicles are their tangible expressions”

(Shifman 2014, pg 40)

 Memes are an example of how the internet has allowed users to contribute to this production process. This paradigm expands the distribution available to its products ““Internet memes have indeed become powerful – yet often invisible – agents of globalisation”  Shifman 2014, pg151). This reach can be so broad however, that barriers exist in their understand – such as social norms and languages ““…some of the norms encoded in the joke – such as premarital sexual relationships – may be unsuitable in arab speaking countries” (Shifman 2014, pg 158)

The digitalised mediums at work here encase the state of the cultural, social and political affairs altering at the time as memes respond to them.


Blanche U (2016) “Banksy: Urban Art in a Material World” Tectum

Chua B H, (2003) Life is not Complete Without Shopping: Consumption Culture in Singapore National University of Singapore.

Ewen S (1976), “Captains of Consciousness” New York: Mc Graw Hill.

Perricone C (1990)  “Artist and Audience” The Journal of Value Inquiry Vol 24 Iss 3.

Blanche U (2016) “Banksy: Urban Art in a Material World” Tectum

2 Comments Add yours

  1. emmaannj says:

    The layout of this post is great, and the way each term has been defined really help broaden the true meaning behind them all. I love all the memes included as well as your own art too! I really enjoyed reading it, the example with fashion in the industry, it was so true with the mass participation as one blows up so quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

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