PERFORMING DEATH AND TRAUMA? PARTICIPATORY MEM(E)ORY AND THE HOLOCAUST IN TIKTOK #POVCHALLENGES
Keywords:TikTok, Holocaust, Memes, Memory, Education
AbstractTikTok is no longer the short-video platform for “silly dances.” Its transition from entertainment to an interest-based platform increased the visual volume of topics like the Holocaust, especially during August 2020, when a controversial meme-trend emerged under the popular hashtag #POVHolocaustChallenge. In this challenge, TikTokers were encouraged to participate in a point-of-view (POV) performance in which they reenacted fictionalized memories of Holocaust victims. This study draws attention to the unique nature of the #POVchallenge form on TikTok as a series of fictional memes that mediate users’ self-reflections on various social, political, and historical issues. By applying a multimodal analysis to 250 videos from the #POVHolocaustChallenge, we illuminate three imaginative and memetically reoccurring narratives in users’ (re)mediations of memories using POV aesthetics that we name mem(e)ories. (1) Testimonial - TikTokers posing as dead Holocaust victims, testifying from heaven after being murdered by Nazis. (2) Punitive - TikTokers playing prisoners in the present (2020) being sent back to tragic events as punishment for their crimes. (3) Escapist - TikTokers time traveling while merging 1940 with 2020 in a complex temporal interplay. Based also on interviews with fifteen TikTokers who participated in the challenges and five representatives of Holocaust-related institutions, we claim that the #POVHolocaustChallenge enables users’ (re)mediation of knowledge on past events and facilitates personal connections to the memory of the Holocaust via video-memes. The affective influence of multimodal memes on TikTok can spark conversation, interpretation, and reflection among youth while inviting the inscription of Holocaust memory into their (social media) lives.
How to Cite
Divon, T., & Ebbrecht-Hartmann, T. (2023). PERFORMING DEATH AND TRAUMA? PARTICIPATORY MEM(E)ORY AND THE HOLOCAUST IN TIKTOK #POVCHALLENGES. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.12995