Theorising TikTok cultures:Neuro-images in the era of short videos

Abstract

Instead of viewing TikTok as a platform, in this article we borrow Dutch film theorist Patricia Pisters’s concept of neuro-images to approach TikTok as a cultural form that is deeply participatory, platform contingent, and algorithmically engraved. In the co-production between algorithms and users, TikTok becomes an enormous database and generates personalised narratives about individuals and the world onto and through its ‘brain-screen’ interfaces, which simulate our conscious and unconscious mind, and actualise the idea of creativity based on repetition. TikTok thus enables a quasi-automated cinema, whose non-stopping filming of everyday lives does not seek to reduce desires and tastes into a singular and coherent structure, but instead uncovers, releases and contains them in its vast database and interfaces, leading to a fluid and modulating categorisation of identities. It is within this quasi-automated, deeply participatory digital cinema that TikTok constitutes neuro-images, producing a distinctive experience of time, and unpredictable and unstable futures.</p

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Dissertations of the University of Groningen

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Last time updated on 04/12/2023

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