Catching The 'Media' Bug


How often do we hum along to a song that we are not currently listening to? Or recite jokes from ads we don't remember seeing? These types of media could be considered, 'contagious,' or so deeply entrenched in the culture and psyche of our daily lives that they seem as natural as our normal routines. This phenomenon is outlined in Malcolm Gladwell's book, 'The Tipping Point,' which outlines the conditions necessary for cultural contagion to grow. In the online world, 'contagious media' might take the form of forwarded emails, obscure websites, senseless animations, or re-mixed video and audio samples. These snippets or cultural artifacts are the focus of 'Contagious Media,' a show of works by siblings Jonah and Chelsea Peretti and curated by Rachel Greene. The show, now up at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City's Chelsea district, features installation and documentation of several contagious media projects by the duo (and their collaborators) including the infamous 'Nike Sweatshop' email forward and ',' both of which have circulated through the inboxes and (dis)graced the browsers of millions worldwide. - Jonah Brucker-Cohen