Troubling the Image-Work of Children in the Age of the Viral Child: Re-Working the Figure of the Child

  • Bryoni Trezise
Keywords: Child, childhood, viral, digital, image, labour, immaterial, theatrical, performance


This article works toward an expanded reading of the viral child by beginning with the “origin” example of the 2007 viral video known as “Charlie Bit My Finger—Again!” In drawing on theatrical as well as sociological histories of the “priceless” child, it thinks through the evolution of the scriptive, performative, and economic dimensions of children and young people’s material and digital media cultures. It argues that the kinds of capital produced by the digital circulation of images of children and young people, as well as the kinds of labour—immaterial, affective, temporal—that those images exploit, reproduce, and transgress both hyperbolize and trouble the increasingly economized cultures of subjectivity and temporality that are experienced by children today.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2018.0001

Author Biography

Bryoni Trezise

Bryoni Trezise is a senior lecturer in theatre and performance studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her research on performance aesthetics and cultures of memory has been published in journals including Memory Studies, Cultural Studies Review, and Performance Research, as well as in two books: Visions and Revisions: Performance, Memory, Trauma with Caroline Wake (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013) and Performing Feeling in Cultures of Memory (Palgrave, 2014). Her current research examines the viral, digital, and performative scripts that anchor contemporary conceptions of the child-figure.

How to Cite
Trezise, B. (2018). Troubling the Image-Work of Children in the Age of the Viral Child: Re-Working the Figure of the Child. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 10(1). Retrieved from

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