Richard Dawkins invented the concept of memes, so you’d expect him to speak with some authority on the subject. What you wouldn’t expect from him is a bizarre audio-visual assault on the senses that incorporates disembodied heads, nausea-inducing graphics, and a sort of semi-rap featuring the lyrics, “Memes, memes, memes, genes, genes, genes.”
It’s like a psychedelic cross between Mars Attacks and the ‘Terrorists Are Gay’ sequence in Nathan Barley. Here are a few highlights to look out for.
2. Floating heads!
3. Floating brains!
4. A laser-owl!
5. Weird, druggy slogans!
7. “Sharks and hedgehogs”.
Then there’s a bit where Dawkins walks on stage playing a sort of digital saxophone - seemingly a reference to the Holophoner episode in Futurama.
It’s all part of a talk Dawkins gave in Cannes for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase. Watch the video in full.
So what’s it all about? According to Memo Akten of Marshmallow Laser Feast - who helped design the presentation - it’s a commentary on how Dawkins’ word “meme” has been hijacked by the internet.
“So we decided to get Dawkins to deliver a short scientific speech on evolution, genetics and memetics. Then go into how the internet has hijacked the word meme. Then we hijack his speech, evolve it and create a short animation which is an ode to cultural evolution and the internet.”
You can read more about the video in this Wired article. But in the meantime…