Memes have evolved beyond recognition over the last decade, making them a real-time capsule and reflection of our chaotic culture and political discourse as the barriers between the internet and everyday life have become increasingly blurred, almost to the point of no distinction. Those memes have now made their way into the real world, with a stop at Hong Kong’s K11 Art Mall.
The world’s first meme museum, courtesy of Hong Kong-based meme sharing platform 9GAG, has taken over the art-oriented shopping area, presenting the internet’s most iconic, ironic, and esoteric. Every now and again, we all need a good laugh—especially now. That is why Ray Chan’s media company 9Gag, which has built one of the most-followed brands on Instagram by focusing on viral material, brought us the world’s first meme museum in Hong Kong.
The Meme Museum
Visitors can tour seven different zones, each of which has both local and international memes. The exhibition showcases the finest of Internet culture’s strange and fascinating side. Hongkongers have been able to enjoy Internet classics like Disaster Girl, Wojak Feels Guy, Distracted Boyfriend and Success Kid, since the museum opened its doors earlier this month.
The show provides an interesting look at how we’re increasingly using memes—a combination of words and visuals that spread quickly on social media—to express ourselves online and make one other laugh, or to make social commentaries about our time. So many critics have long thought of memes as an art form, and now it seems that investors are beginning to think in the same line.
The seven-story mall in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), Kowloon’s retail and entertainment hub, intends to “bring art back into everyday life” by hosting exhibits on its shopping grounds. Locals and tourists may travel down the “time tunnel” to see the evolution of memes on rows of television screens, which include displays of Hong Kong-styled gags as well as global classics.
On their Instagram page, K11 Mall shared:
“MEME is a kind of art […] K11 Art Mall has always been committed to promoting local creative power, to present more artistic possibilities, and there are so few MEMEs that everyone can burn day and night and laugh for years!,” the mall continued. In this issue of the ‘WHY SO MEME’ project, the local network platform 9GAG will be brought from the network to the entity, and the first MEME MUSEUM by 9GAG will be set up. The exhibition invites many artists to create a second time, reinterpret the classic memories of nearly half a century, and upgrade the folk creative MEME drawings into pieces of art.”
Photo via Jenny Leung