This is pretty hard to deconstruct. This piece is done by Smetnjak, a semi-wild bunch of bogus musicians, failed visual artists, oddball wallpaperers and out-of-work imaginary friends, as they call them selves.
It is a mix of two Slovene music cultures that could not be farther away from each other. The highly influential avant garde music group Laibach and the trash jodl dodl group Atomik Harmonik.
Iam not sure what to think of it. Its very well done, with a subtle feeling for music. It's somehow funny, but sad at the same time. I am not sure i can call it subversive neither. But it sure makes me think... Any opinion? Oliver
I have been invited to give a Key note lecture at the Graphic Design Festival in Breda, next week. The theme DECODING is highly interesting. Decoding is usually connected with visual text and here most designers became quite skilled in the past years. The second field in which decoding became more and more important is technology. Although this two levels are very important to me , this is still too limiting if we think of design as communication in the public sphere.
I thought to approach it from a perspective that goes beyond image and is tightly connected to design as social (communication) practice. Oliver Vodeb
Here is a synopsis:
Decoding design. Decoding designer.
Communicative politics of decoding beyond image
Why decode? Designers are communicators and as such they are active participants in processes of shaping social reality. From a producers stand point of view, the craft of decoding becomes very important when it is part of a wider process of communication that embodies three levels: excellence, social responsibility and meaning for the visual communicator. The key question to me is how can decoding contribute to better design. And what is good design in the first place? If designers are able to decode images, are they able to decode social context that defines their communicative practice? Are they able to decode their own position within this context? How is this related to the communication approaches designers use in practice? Is the design profession able to decode its own ideological base?
Te lecture will put forward an argument that in order to practice design as GOOD WORK designers need to have the ability of self reflexive decoding. The lecture will connect theory with practice and will show examples of self reflexive decoding.
Memefest is published on Wikipedia. You are invited to review and edit the article.
During Graphic design festival in Breda over 100 graphic designers hack, remix, sample, mash up and code image, information and interaction. Public presentations, exhibitions, lectures and workshops display how we can associate with graphic design in new ways. What does this mean for the profession of a designer? In this seminar various designers talk about the way they take their profession up to a next level.
Very good new documentary by Dough Rushkoff about internet culture. Rushkoffs emancipatory predictions of this technology are partly turning in to the opposite. The hyper wired human being of the 21 century lives multitasking realities but seems to have problems with figuring out how to make the best out of the non-virtual one.
Here we go. A young couple marries in New Yorks 5th Avenue Apple store. The words are read from a Iphone screen. The priest is dressed like Steve Jobs.
Here is the whole text. Read it. :)
Made by Len Lye in 1935, Colour Box is one of the most beautiful advertisements ever produced. (You Tube's version does not show the beautiful brightness of the Colours though)
Hi Memefest Friends, bellow is a call for Abstracts edited by Memefest educational expert board member Zala Volcic and her Colegue. We warmly invite you to collaborate on this important topic.
Editors: Helga Tawil-Souri (New York University) and Zala Volcic (University of Queensland)
We invite abstract submissions for an edited book on the creation, dissemination, interpretation, and role of digital media for political purposes in the Balkans and the Middle East. The Balkan and Middle East contexts provide interesting case studies because of their overlapping patterns of national and regional identification combined with the tensions these create.
The overall goal of the edited volume will be to consider the relationship between a wide array of internet uses and forms of political deliberation, taking into consideration both the ways in which interactive media help to foster deliberation, discussion, and the coordination of collection action, and the ways in which they may thwart public sphere ideals of rational critical deliberation and public accountability. Our intent is to provide an overview of the spectrum of political uses of new media in these two regions.
Contributors may come from a range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives, attending to how political groups, practices, and communicative genres are underwritten and sustained via engagement with digital technology, as well as to how the political realm itself is transformed in the age of digital media.
Relevant topics include but are not limited to the following:
- The political uses of digital media
- The uses of digital media for purposes of organizing protest and dissent and for the construction of forums for political deliberation.
- How activists and (political) groups have used the internet to hold state authorities accountable or challenge them, or to publish and circulate information.
- The creation, dissemination and/or interpretation of digital media content by communities and individuals for political purposes
- The kinds of politics that are created/expressed in the digital media environment - How mediated expressions and spaces connect to politics ‘on the ground’
- The kinds of political challenges that arise from digital media use in the regions
- The shifting relationship between digital media and journalism
- How population groups use the internet to connect with one another across national divisions (for example Serbs living in Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro; Palestinians living in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria).
- Chapters may focus on different forms of digital media and spaces: internet cafes, social networking sites, bulletin boards, blogs, twitter, wikipedia, youTube, listservs, websites and other digital/social media.
- Chapters may focus on one national context or sub-context, or may be comparative in scope.
- For the purposes of this project, the relevant geographic range of the Balkans and the Middle East includes the following: Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen.
- We particularly welcome contributions from scholars from the relevant regions.
Please send a short bio, a publication list, and a 500 word abstract detailing the topic of your article, the overall context, your material, methodology, and theoretical argument by March 1, 2010. Authors will be notified by the 25th of March 2010 of the outcome of their submissions. If accepted, full papers, of a maximum of 6,000 words, should be submitted by September 1, 2010. Papers will then be reviewed individually by the editors and in the standard blind review process of the publisher.
Submissions and inquiries about this volume should be sent to both
(Photos: Oliver Vodeb)
The self-referential design discourse goes way deeper than we ever thought. We tried to research and understand the dynamics that make designers disconnect with the social and cultural (of course political) effects of their work. As authors they feel a deep connection with the design artefact.. but the big majority not with the cognitive, structural dynamics that their work and everyday (design) practice and actions help to (re) produce.
We have come a long way and we will continue to research design (among other aspects of public communication, of course) in the future.
2010 will be a great year. Memefest reader of seven years of research, creation, subversion will be published in a few months. 8th festival is being prepared, a workshop/conference/networking/exhibition/public intervention event is planned too. Lot of reasons to finish the year 2009 with a smile.
We wish you peaceful Holidays and may be year 2010 a creative and meaningful one.
Photos were taken at the Design Hochschule Mainz- Translations Conference 03.
For all you social media lovers out there. Memefest collaborator Zala Volcic' on-line lecture about how we are all becoming (social media) brands. Cool!
Take action in Copenhagen:
The time is now!
Tens of thousands of people are mobilizing, great actions are being planned and the logistics is being finalized, so that everybody can be accommodated. Don't miss the opportunity: come and be part of it!
A broad coalition from over 20 countries, of hundreds of thousands of citizens, users, consumers, organizations, artists, hackers, members of the free culture movement, economists, lawyers, teachers, students, researchers, scientists, activists, workers, unemployed, entrepreneurs, creators… has come together to campaign and organise for respect and the fullfilling of the rights of citizens and artists in the digital era.
The action started with the celebration of a First International Forum on free culture and access to knowledge (October 29 to November 1 Barcelona) and continuous with the international launching of the "Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge".
The Charter constitutes the beginning of an unprecedented offensive of civil society in defense of the fundamental rights in response to the pressure of the lobbies of the culture industry and lobbies for the privatization of education and knowledge on the national parliaments, and particularly European Parliament.
Citizens of the digital era stand up to full fill the potential of the digital era in the increasing freedom, justice and rewarding for all.
We invite all citizens to make this Charter theirs, spread it and practice it.
We invite all the governments, multinationals and institutions urgently to listen to it, understand it and enforce it.
Donwload the Charter here.
"10 tactics for turning information into action shows how rights advocates around the world have used the internet and digital technologies to create positive change."
The Bologna process aims at an extensive convergence of European Universities with the Anglo-American education system. The aim is to enter competition in the global education market in order to strengthen universitie’s economic position and increase their research dependent revenues. The establishment of regulative norms and the harmonization of standards are the basis and at the same time the precondition of this process: without standardization there can be no measurability, without measurability no comparability, without comparability no competition. Economization and the logic of competition are imposed at every level of knowledge production.
The result is intercontinental as well as inter-EU competition, in which single universities and their departments compete amongst themselves for the best results and statistics. The processes involved in the creation of an education economy with knowledge as the commodity correspond to the general tendencies towards privatization and commodification of all spheres of life under neoliberal capitalism. They lead to educational institution’s increased dependency on their sponsors, cynically defined as the autonomization of universities.
In this context autonomy is a euphemism for the new forms of governing institutions. The autonomized universities are not autonomous in the sense of self-determined at all. They are rather directed to fulfil the needs of economy and industry, as well as to subjugate themselves to market logic: efficiency, competition and managerial ruling structures. The democratisation of universities, implemented in the 1970s, is successively abolished - democratically legitimized bodies are disenfranchised and replaced by top-down hierarchical structures. In the composition of the Bologna 3-level study model, a paradigm change has manifested itself, in the last few years there has been a shift from a pluralistic ideal of education to an economy-oriented model of education. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna has repeatedly and explicitly positioned itself against this degradation and the establishment of the Bachelor-Master system. We refuse to subjugate ourselves to the logic of politics and economy! We’re fighting to define learning, teaching and research for ourselves! We declare solidarity with the education protests in Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Croatia, Netherlands, Serbia, South Africa, USA!
********** 1. We oppose ourselves to university-based organisational structures that are determined by economic ends, as well as to the privatisation of teaching, research and knowledge production more broadly. We demand the full public funding and re-democratization of all educational institutions as well as the unconditional abolition of university fees!
2. We oppose ourselves to the pseudo-autonomy of universities. We demand the immediate withdrawal of §8* of the UG 2002!
§8.: ’Upon the proposal of the minister of education, the government may impose the installation of a branch of study on a university or several universities, given this is necessary on the basis of political decisions in the fields of education or science, and given there is no related former agreement as in a contract regarding university performance.’
We demand the freedom to define what teaching and research, as well as science and art, mean in the context of our universities.
3. We oppose ourselves to quality assessments concerning science and art when these operate by economic criteria. We are against the forced imposition of self-marketing strategies on universities, and against the conflation of education with competitiveness and elitism.
We demand the abolition of knowledge surveys and agreements on productivity! 4. We oppose ourselves to the degrading transformation of universities and schools into training facilities oriented by the labour market. We want education as space for thinking, not training as the mere reproduction of workforce!.
5. We insist that the government refrain from taking teaching and art, science and research to be seperable as objects of thought and administration. We demand that the corresponding ministeries be merged immediately.
We insist that the rector defend the position of the Academy – and not his private view - when it comes to negotiating the terms of productivity with the ministry. We demand that the rector make sure all existing courses of study remain in place, according to the decisions taken at the academy.
We demand that all financial activities within the term of the current agreement on productivity (2007-2009) be immediately revealed.
Edited by teachers and students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
That's the title for the lecture iam starting to prepare for the Conference in Mainz i have been invited to. If you have any thoughts on what might be interesting to high-lite in the perspective of self image of "the communication designer and his role in society", let me know. Oliver (oliver at memefest.org)
translations 03: authorship in design – autorschaft im design
November 20 and 21, 2009 / Symposium of the Master Program Gutenberg Intermedia / University of Applied Sciences Mainz
The third international translations-symposium under the heading »authorship in design - autorschaft im design« is concerned with the self image of the communication designer and his role in society.
The much discussed authorship in design marks a growing concern about self consciousness and responsibility in this discipline. The great attraction and the tempting possibilities of communication design compel us – in view of a global crisis concerning mutual trust and credibility – to form a stronger bond with its contents and to critically reflect on our own work. At the same time there are new fields of work opening up for the designer as an author, reaching far beyond the classic understanding of graphic design.
The symposium aims at highlighting the designer as a responsible co-author and as a visual author of contents. We have invited internationally renowned designers, as well as artists and specialists for design theory, to talk about the different aspects of this field, discuss them and give insights into design practice.
The following five kinds of authorship in communication design will be discussed:
* The designer as a visual explorer
* The designer as a meaningful narrator
* The designer as a developer of intermedial “tools”
* The designer as a social critic
* The design theorist
When and where are these forms of authorship needed? What are their consequences concerning the relationship between client and designer? What are the consequences of this discussion for the classic picture of the communication designer? What are the resulting requirements for practical work and training?
An old man with a hearing aid stands with his back to a low wall, juggling a profusion of juicy oranges and bright red tomatoes. One by one he plucks them from the air and sets them down in perfect pyramids, orange and red. The juggler is the neoliberal ideologist Friedrich von Hayek, who thinks that that to act in a world of commodities, all you need to know are their prices:
It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they make speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number or important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.1
Pierre Bernard, co-founder of Grapus and Atelier de Création Graphique, delivered this lecture in Minneapolis in 1991. It was reprinted in Essays on Design I: AGI’s Designers of Influence, London 1997.
Dear users and abusers, dear Elders of the Internet,
the Kiosk of Piracy is proud to announce the launch of “The Pirate Kiosk”! From last night own, a copy of the infamous Pirate Bay is available to the public, but – here comes the catch – offline-only. Yes, offline, the Kiosk is not connected to the Internet in any way, but the interested public is invited to use the service in a wifi-radius around it.
A Brief History of the Post-Autistic Economics Movement Theories, scientific and otherwise, do not represent the world as it is but rather by highlighting certain aspects of it while leaving others in the dark. It may be the case that two theories highlight the same aspects of some corner of reality but offer different conclusions. In the last century, this type of situation preoccupied the philosophy of science. Post-Autistic Economics, however, addresses a different kind of situation: one where one theory, that illuminates a few facets of its domain rather well, wants to suppress other theories that would illuminate some of the many facets that it leaves in the dark. This theory is neoclassical economics. Because it has been so successful at sidelining other approaches, it also is called “mainstream economics”. From the 1960s onward, neoclassical economists have increasingly managed to block the employment of non-neoclassical economists in university economics departments and to deny them opportunities to publish in professional journals. They also have narrowed the economics curriculum that universities offer students. At the same time they have increasingly formalized their theory, making it progressively irrelevant to understanding economic reality. And now they are even banishing economic history and the history of economic thought from the curriculum, these being places where the student might be exposed to non-neoclassical ideas. Why has this tragedy happened?
Ideologies and scenarios of the ecological question in the Great Recession
This paper wants to look at scenarios emerging out of the present economic and ecological crisis for capitalist and anticapitalist forces alike. The first premise is that the 21st century's ecological question is trumping the 20th century's social question as major source of conflict. Green is the new red, and class struggle realigns accordingly. The second premise is that Obama's ecokeynesianism is to be taken seriously as the new template for liberal capitalism after the failure of neoliberal deregulation.
You can read the whole article on Zmag here.
Now, when we are discussing the future of Memefest, it is a pleasure to see what has been achieved by the international radical communications community in the past years. Have a look at the impressive gallery.
Memefest has always played an important role in exploring new media and communication literacies. Literacies are getting more and more complex in our current media technology driven culture and it is in fact not easy to follow the fast changes in the ways people behave in relation to media.
Here's a short interview with Memefest 2004 jury member Howard Rheingold about this issues. You can see the whole (40 min) lecture here.
Ok, friends. As summer is hitting Slovenia, we are about to start work on Memefest RECHARGED. First news is that we will begin working on a Memefest reader, with texts and images from seven radical communication festival years. In addition to this we will produce new texts and images that will reflect on the project it self as well as on the current media and communication environment. The book should be finished mid 2010 and will be in Slovene and English language. We are very excited about this and will keep you posted here on further developments.
As for the festival itself we are still in the discussion phase. Personal visits among core team members and heavy debates are happening during this weeks. Australian Jason Grant visited me few weeks ago, last few days Australian Phil Graham was here and on Thursday i am expecting Shoaib Nabi from the Emirates. A visit to Paulo Hartman in Brasil is planned in October as well.
Douglas Rushkoff speaks about his new book, alternative business and currency models and again makes a lucid analysis of what's going on and on what should we focus on in order to change things for the better. Great stuff!!
friend Memefest and Poper Studio collaborator Jason Grant from design studio Inkahoots in Brisbane has just published this article on Design Observer:
I think you might be interested in reading it. I would also like to encourage you to comment and promote this to your networks.
A bunch of voices supporting the idea of engaged design would be excellent in such a mainstream forum.
Take care, Oliver
This email was sent to the international Memefest organizational team.
i know, it took me a long, long time to write this. So here is a sort of synopsis of what we have discussed so far. In many cases we already made a decision, some things need still some more discussions. All in all quite some changes will happen for Memefest, as it looks now and this is good. Besides conceptual issues we need to find ways to organize, so i pointed out at the end of the document things that should be done next. I hope you will find time and energy to do the next round. :)
After this, i believe, we can work faster in smaller groups, depending on who is interested to work on what. Looking very much forward to your thoughts.
I. As for the concept:
1. I think that we should get rid of the disciplines sociology, communications studies and visual arts. Instead we should have
b) visual arts practice
c) Beyond… category
Here we agree in principle. Some of you had problems with Beyond… which is not by its name and concept totally clear. Shoaib stressed that the names of categories should reinforce the critical/counter culture /social cause dimension of the festival. This sounds like a great idea! Kernow and Roderick, stressed that “arts” is a problematic word, so maybe we should speak about designed message (Roddy) or visual communication practice instead ? I suggest visual communication practice.
Theory is another issue. As Nikola said theory and for exmpl. sociology is not the same. Rok had a good suggestion: “critical writing”.
So, this are suggestion (c is instead of Beyond..):
a) Visual communication practice
b) Critical writing
c) Participatory /experimental communication
2. We should get rid of the »student only« part of the festival. We should open it up for everyone. No age limitation.In general the main question here is: how can we make the educational part of Memefest stronger?
Most of us agree that this is good. Shoaib stressed that Memefest should be still focused on students, though. I believe that opening Memefest up to everyone does not exclude students. Students and Universities can still participate and it will be up to them how strong the students part will be in comparison to non-students.v Memefest grew mainly from the students and University community and working with this communities is something that we should continue to work on strongly.
The Beyond… category focused on non-student was always very successful. Since it was a more open ended concept we received some very good works. It is for sure that there is a big demand and interest for Memefest like activities in the non-student community. Professionals for example don’t have many other media (besides coopted versions of “socially responsible” stuff at advertising and design festivals) to show their work.
I also think that if we would manage to do summer camps, a mixture of educators, professionals and students would be great. I did that already with another project and it was a combination where really everyone learned from everyone in a more open manner than if we would remain in the sphere of University only.
The sphere of the University, however, should be used productively. Russel suggested a proved model, with a project he is working with. What i am saying is, we should use this institutions if we could get support from them.
A gathering of the international Memefest community would be a strong thing also for the local community of the place of gathering, so we should also consider (besides of whats possible) to think which environment that would need such a impact.
Another option would be to divide Memefest (on line “competition”) in to a student and non-student part. But i am not sure this would bring any good results besides dividing the radical communication pool from the institutional perspective. Ana and Rok are in favour of such a distinction. One argument is that this would make younger students more confident in participating. What is your opinion on this?
2a Competition and awards
There is a prevailing argument that Memefest should not be a competition. Although Memefest is light years away from the prevailing festivals, competitions, biennials etc it still gives awards to the one’s who seem to be the best ones. There has been a suggestion of a curatorial approach by Jason, but the concept of this needs to be developed yet. I think we could have a curatorial approach combined with public vote.
3. The web site needs to be reworked in to a more social medium. The problem is that participants at Memefest did not get enough in touch with each other. The community building part of the web site should be stronger.
Here we all agree. The web site needs to be reworked and has to be more of a community tool than it is now. We can use our experiences from Memefest and other projects and a bunch of new technological solution that have been invented in the past years. A concrete concept for the web site can be made after we finish the overall Memefest concept discussion.
Ana, for example, stressed a important point: the English web site would need more regular content, blog writing etc…
Is anyone interested to contribute to this part? Or do you have any other ideas how to solve this problem?
Also, Martha Patricia pointed out that some of the current works which are published in the gallery are not matching the ethical standards of Memefest, suggesting the galleries should be reviewed.
II. The organisational/action part
Memefest is a big project and to work on it every year means really a substantial input of time and energy. Without collaboration of a wider community the project can not be done properly and even more important, without such a collaboration it makes no sense to work on Memefest for me. Here i have a simple question. How are you interested to collaborate with Memefest in the future? In what way? How much time could you or would you like contribute?
Many of you have answered but also many did not. I am asking again for your answer. This information is vital in order to strategize next steps, which should be planned according to what is possible to do.
How to go off-line? In the past Memefest went off line in organizing street communications campaigns- like for example in Belgrade and Ljubljana, organizing round tables, discussions, lectures, screenings, exhibitions, workshops and printing a publication- like in Slovenia, Brazil and Colombia. To go off –line and not work only on the net is very important. What can be done here?
We all agree that face to face meetings are necessary and that we all would like to spent time together in real. Two main ideas came up.
a workshop/conference/summer camp or similar gathering
production of publications/books/readers
Here it is obvious, that we are not in favor of regular conferences as we know them from academia and business but we are looking for more radical forms of explorations, collaboration and fun.
The obvious problem is money.
Some of you like Andreja, Roderick have offered time for grand writing, and i know there is more of us who would be willing to do this.
I suggest that we start looking for concrete funding possibilities like for example:
1. National funding
2. EU funding
3. International funding for collaboration for example EU and Australia or EU and Colombia or EU and Brasil
4. University funding
A reconceptualisation is also needed in the operations of the Memefest local Centers: Colombia, Brasil, Australia and Balkan. What has been achieved in the past is great, but considering the specific local conditions i am sure we should in depth discuss conceptual and organisational matters regarding the local Memefest nodes.For now the question is : what is the current situation? What are the local problems? How do you see the future of Memefest local centers?
A decentralized network structure is the best way to function. The practice in the past shows that the centers need to get more interconnected, through this establishing a stronger economy of sharing.The current situation with the local centers is this:
Several Memefest local chapters have been evolving in the past years. However remaining them to work for a longer period of time seems to be difficult.
Memefest balkan- set up by Jaša, is currently not operating
Memefest Australia- set up by Zoe, is currently not operating
Memefest Colombia, set originally by Claudia, now Esteban is working , but as he wrote, it’s not easy.
Memefest Brasil- set up by Paulo Hartmann is alive but in 2008 it started to get more and more difficult to operate.
We are discussing with Shoaib, about establishing a local center in UAE/Shajrah.
Frederic wrote about a posibility of starting a center in Montreal.
The hub, based in Slovenia is alive and working.
I suggest that people from the nodes or potential new notes say what 's their perspective on the current local situation and global collaboration , now and future.
Another thing I like to point out is the on-line educational impact.
For now , participants have valued the written feedback very much. This was limited for those who were short listed in the competition. I believe that this feedback should be made public, so everyone can learn from it. I also believe that this feedback would be stronger if jurors or from now on “curators” would speak in to a web cam. This would than be automatically recorded and posted on the web site as comments to the work. Much more feedback in quantity could be given and the quality might be better too, because people would get a more intense experience. What do you think about that?
Nikola, and some others suggested a new written conceptual document or manifesto. I think this is very much needed, so let's do it.
Ok, this is it. Besides commenting the above, we need to organize, therefore please let us know the following, so we could start work on concrete things. Note this is still work on the reorganization and reconceptualization, not on the next event:
Who is interested in working on :
1. Written concept/manifesto
2. Web site : concept, architecture/design, writing, code
3. Grant research/writing
4. Network building, nurturing
Take care, Oliver
It's been seven years since we started. Or almost eight by now. It's pretty crazy what happened in this time. Memefest grew from a one man band project, organised with a old computer, a slow telephone Internet connection in a 2x2 square meter room in Ljubljana to a international radical communication network with collaborations from more than 60 (sixty!) Countries.
After all this years many things have changed and i feel, we need to re conceptualise parts of the project.
Bellow is an email i have sent to the inner Memefest network of cca 30 people from around the world. As you see, the dialogue of change begins.
If you are interested to contribute in any way, let us know!
Ps: photo is taken from the Memefest 2008 poster photo shooting in Barcelona
It's been a while since we had any discussions. We were in touch during and after Memefest 2008 ended, in June. At that time, before the much needed summer break, i already told you that i think Memefest needs some changes.
Iam writing this to you, because you all have been, in one way or another, strongly involved in Memefest in the past years. Some of you worked in the organisation of the project, some of you as Jury members through many years, some of you helped with getting the word about Memefest around and some of you participated and helped in the discussions we have had.
I will ask you for your opinion and your feedback will shape the strategy of Memefest's future in a very important way.
You all know that Memefest started as a small initiative in Ljubljana and during the course of the past seven years it grew to the biggest project of its kind, being able to establish a international grassroots network of like minded collaborators and much more. It became a important media activist platform, and it got it's place within institutional Academia- several Universities recognised the project and teachers are every year working on the festival outlines with their students.
We always were able to open very relevant questions and themes on which the international community reflected and created theory and practice. The most valuable part of Memefest is probably it's educational dimension and here we were able to go beyond the official academic institutions, which i think is very important.
The project started in 2002. The situation was pretty different then. Internet was not what it is today. Certain communication practices that Memefest helped to popularize were pretty unknown, especially in some parts of the world, and if Memefest offered a medium for professional AND amateur (radical) media production in the beginning of the project, today many other web based platforms like Youtube and other platforms exist and are used in our everyday lives. Although this platforms are not focused in critical/subversive/radical communications practices, they provide people with a chance to submit and broadcast.
This is only one perspective of the new conditions of course. The other one is a different on-line ethic than in the begging of the new millennium. I think that participating in radical initiatives is for the majority of the people less exciting as it was back than. The Internet gift economy that helped to spread the meme about Memefest has become narrowed to more particular interests and is not that much of a »common« when it comes to radical initiatives, unless one is particularly interested in a topic or project/initiative. Years ago it seemed important to participate and help as much as possible the different project popping up in the data sphere, now this is not the case anymore.
When manipulations of symbols provided a cognitive and practical door and helped people to understand various hidden ideologies and at the same time helped to subvert them , today this manipulation of symbols (like for example in Culture Jamming) has become a after work free time sport- proof for this is the millions images of »jammed« images floating through the Internet. This is a result of technological tools that become available to everyone as well as the widespread of a »culture jamming culture« that Memefest helped to popularise widely.
The effect of this is on the negative side – the majority of this images are communication-wise very week. The popular hobby like engagement with symbol manipulation caused also depolitisation of this communication approaches, because engagement with images , without deeper understanding of communication and without any concept, leaves the potential power of the image on the blank surface and does not cause any critical reflection on the side of the producer as well as on the side of the receptor.
Theory is another story. The communities that produce strong theory are mostly tied to academia and without giving people the chance to get academic points, they need for their career, participation seems less interesting. Of course there are people outside the academic institution that write strong theory, but we somehow did not succeed enough to get them involved.
I strongly believe that the general Memefest' concept is very relevant and strong, but changes need to be made in order to effect fully educate, nurture and communicate communications approaches, tools, ideas and concepts that are radically needed in our times.
I worked very hard on the project every year and i somehow feel that, especially in the last year, i did not had the time or chance to reflect on it properly. Now this is something i want to do and iam asking you for your opinion and help, because several changes need to be made and if Memefest wants to continue it must open a new chapter in order to remain relevant. The times and conditions in the media /communications sphere have changed, and the perception of radical engagement (especially on the internet) has changed too. That's why i think Memefest needs to be rethought and reconceptualised- in it's concept and organisational dynamics/structure.
There are two main things i'd like to discuss with you. One is the content/concept part of the project and one is the organisational/action part of the project.
Lot of this are things that i have discussed with some of you in the past. Here are the main points. Here i am asking you for your opinion on them. Latter, if you are interested, we can discuss all of them in more detail. Bellow are some thoughts and questions. After that there is a suggestion on the next steps of the project. I am asking you to reply with emails to everyone this email has been sent to.
I. As for the concept:
1. I think that we should get rid of the disciplines sociology, communications studies and visual arts. Instead we should have
b) visual arts practice
c) Beyond… category
2. We should get rid of the »student only« part of the festival. We should open it up for everyone. No age limitation.In general the main question here is: how can we make the educational part of Memefest stronger?
3. The web site needs to be reworked in to a more social medium. The problem is that participants at Memefest did not get enough in touch with each other. The community building part of the web site should be stronger.
II. The organisational/action part
Memefest is a big project and to work on it every year means really a substantial input of time and energy. Without collaboration of a wider community the project can not be done properly and even more important, without such a collaboration it makes no sense to work on Memefest for me.
Here i have a simple question. How are you interested to collaborate with Memefest in the future? In what way? How much time could you or would you like contribute?
A reconceptualisation is also needed in the operations of the Memefest local Centers: Colombia, Brasil, Australia and Balkan. What has been achieved in the past is great, but considering the specific local conditions iam sure we should in depth discuss conceptual and organisational matters regarding the local Memefest nodes.For now the question is : what is the current situation? What are the local problems? How do you see the future of Memefest local centers? This question in particular is very much directed towards the ones who run or are part of the Memefest local teams.
How to go off-line?
In the past Memefest went off line in organising street communications campaigns- like for example in Belgrade and Ljubljana, organising round tables, discussions, lectures, screenings, exhibitions, workshops and printing a publication- like in Slovenia, Brasil and Colombia. To go off –line and not work only on the net is very important. What can be done here?
So, this are the main thoughts. What should we do this year?
The next question is: considering the above- do you think we should start immediately making Memefest 2009 festival, or should we first start discussing and work on the reconceptualised project after we have discussed this in depth?
I somehow lean towards the latter. For the discussion we could establish a online discussion platform, which would make things easier than sending emails back and forth and searching for past discussions in mail inbox.
The generally reconceptualisation will take some time. A intense discussion could bring us in cca 6 weeks to good conclusions.
This is it for now. I wish you all a good, healthy and happy new year!! I hope you will find the energy and interest to answer this email and continue to collaborate on Memefest.
The tenth issue of Four Minutes to Midnight explores the idea of radical beauty (a theme inspired from this year’s Memefest) interpreted through the words and images of over 30 artists. Our ‘anniversary’ issue is the thickest (and prettiest) one yet, clocking in at a tidy 180 pages.
Some of my personal favourites among the diverse work featured in the issue include a selection of poetry from American ‘outsider’ poet F.A. Nettelbeck, two collaborations between myself and Montreal photographer Dita Kubin, a series of beautiful, seductive portraits painted by Kevin Ledo, and the surreal illustrations from my former student Ilinca Balaban.
I’m also incredibly proud of this issue’s fugue which in itself pulls together fragments from over 20 artists and writers. John and I worked incredibly hard to compose what we feel to be the best expression yet of the core ideas that started this project years ago, hanging out in his basement apartment, fuming at the world…
You can download the zine here.
One of the best and most lucid blogs out there is Michael Shaw's Bag news notes.
The project was submitted years ago to Memefest's Beyond... category, later Michael was part of Memefest visual arts Jury.
By now the blog receives 8000 visits a day and continues to produce top quality content on this very important subject.
As the blog keeps growing the Community that works on it is getting bigger too. Now, you all are invited to collaborate on this inspiring project.
Last week i finished evaluating a huge number of Entries at the First international Stickeraward.Here is one i liked a lot. Gratisprobe= Free sample. Although i think most Festivals- competitions are making a very bad job in constructing Criteria of what is good (visual) communications work, because they approach communication from a decontextualised perspective, i really enjoy this project.
I had recently an awards experience that made me again think a lot about the role of awards in constructing what is supposed to be good (visual) communications work. Especially the design profession is in great need to rethink it's institutions of knowledge production. I will post about that more soon.
For now i invite you to read a important article about this subject, published here in Eye magazine.
Hey Friends! Memefest 2008 received works from around the globe, from four continents. Congratulations to everyone who has responded to this years theme. We were particularly attentive and only posted those works which were clearly related to the festival's outlines. Those entries not related to Radical beauty outline or to the Beyond… category guidelines were not posted in our on-line Galleries.
Most of the submissions were very inspiring, and so the winners were very hard to choose.
Awards were given in the Visual arts, Beyond..., Communication Studies and Sociology Categories! Several great works received honorable mentions. Sadly not all the category awards were given because in order to get a Memefest Award the submitted work must have received an average rating of 8.0.
Memefest's Jurors worked very hard and in addition to evaluating the submitted works, they produced several hundred written comments that will provide feedback to the participants and help them create even better works in the future! The evaluation process took several weeks and the pedagogical feedback is in our opinion the best award of all. We thank our Jury indefinitely for their conscientious collaboration.
In order to view Jury's comments to your submission, go to www.memefest.org and log in with your memeaccount. Take time and read the reviews carefully, they are written in order to help you reflect your work from different perspectives.
Check out the winners and honorable mentions; take your time- browse their works and participate in the discussions.
We are encouraged and inspired by your submissions, participation, and collaboration. We will keep you posted with more news about future developments of Memefest's global network very soon.
Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who participated!!
Keep on doing your great work!!!
After several weeks of evaluating this years submissions the results are known and on-line. You can check our opinion on this years Memefest and the highest ranked works here. Enjoy.
Before the jury ends this years evaluation of your submissions: check out the galleries. This years festival outline seems to be the most difficult till now. Many submissions sadly did not respond to the theme RADICAL BEAUTY. Those ones are not listed in the Gallery. We will elaborate on this soon, but till then we are looking forward to see what our stellar jury members think about your works and how they will comment on them. More soon.
It's exciting to see the works submitted from twenty-four countries for this year's festival.
The submissions are currently being reviewed, a preselection is being made and, next week, the evaluation process will start. The results will be known on June 20th. We will of course keep you posted about everything on this blog- so keep on checking this space.
Dear Friends of Memefest,
We've been receiving a good number of submissions for this year's contest from around the world. And for those of you who have submitted, we want to take the time to thank you.
We also received lots of emails asking us to extend the deadline for submissions. This is why we have decided to extend the submission deadline to Wednesday, May 30., 2008.
This gives you ten days extra to create something powerful and give it into the contest. We also want to take the time to remind you that we have four categories, both academic and artistic. So, whether you prefer writing or design or conceptual interdisciplinary projects as your weapon, your opinions are given equal consideration. There are no restrictions here- only your imagination!
The Memefest Team 2008
Friends, we have one week till our deadline for submissions, which is May 20th. We would like to encourage you to participate in this years theme Radical beauty and we want you to know that all your works and thoughts make a important contribution to the global radical communication scene. We are already receiving works from many different countries and hope to see also your comment on this years festival outlines.
If you have any doubts or need help with the submission write us an email to memefest AT memefest dot org. If you already have your work ready, you can submitt it here.
We wish you best of luck with your creations. Meme team.
This year,This years Jury members among others include ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬new media theorist, activist and founder and director of the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, Geert Lovink, Dori Tunstall a leader in field of Design Anthropology and Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Director of the City Design Center at University of Illinois at Chicago, P.K. Langshaw, the Chair of and Associate Professor in the Department of the Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Jason Grant, Director of Inkahoots, the adventurous graphic design studio in Brisbane, Australia, Gon Zifroni from the excellent and innovative design research collective based in Amsterdam and Brussels, Metahaven, and theatre director virtuoso from Ljubljana, Jernej Lorenci.
More info about our great Jury is here
The photo is still incomplete. We will add photos of missing jury members, once we get them.
Attention: deadline for submissions is MAY 20th!
Designed by Zoe Romano and Kernow Craig, this years poster shows several Grassroots initiatives like: radical bikers, vegetable home-growers, the hacker, indymedia reporter, cleaning women...
Posters are printed and are being distributed right now. If you're in Ljubljana and would like to have one, come and visit us. Let us know, write us an email : oliver at memefest.org
Welcome to Memefest 2008. After hard work, the new web site with all information regarding this years festival is on-line. Thanks to Zoe and Kernow, we reworked the web site design and added several interface improvements. Have a look at the festival outlines and let us know if you need any additional information. Some coding is still being done by Ana, Memefest's great programmer, so if you find any non working links or bugs, they will be fixed very soon.
We are very excited about this years theme RADICAL BEAUTY and cant wait to see and read the submissions. We will start spreading info about Memefest 2008 now and will appreciate any of your help getting the word around.
Here's a screen shot of the new web site. Should by on-line in the next few days. We have made lot's of improvements as you will see and we are very happy with the beautiful designs Kernow and Zoe made.
As a big fan of Four minutes to midnight i am happy to announce that the Montreal based zine will publish the next issue inspired by this years Memefest theme: Radical Beauty. Therefore we encourage you to submit to Memefest and 23:56.
The news is also that as a part of the Memefest award, best works will be published in the zine and also Kevin, the heart of 23:56 will be (again) in the visual arts Jury. Isn't that great?? :))
After hard work, it's done! A special selection of Memefest's moving images MemeTV is a upgrade of our web galleries. Check it out, there's some great work there from past years submission and use the embed function to post the memes on other blogs and web sites. Bellow is one of the videos featured on MemeTV. Enjoy...
As you know this years Memefest theme will be "Radical Beauty.
Here is a text that shows how we defined Radical Beauty in the context of communication:
Beauty is a cultural creation that expresses dominant values. In the 21st century beauty is often extremely commercialized.
Radical beauty is a cultural creation that expresses the desire of a change in society. Radical beauty is about changing dominant values through action and creation. Grassroots projects are often the vectors of these changings. They experiment new practices and express new values.
- content: poetic dialogue and action between the world and grassroots projects or processes that are existing or yet to be realized
- process: empowering relations between people
- aesthetic: evoking a strong feeling of affection or love
- With radical beauty we want to overcome to usual criticism of social construction of beauty, mostly regarding the representations of women in media.
- Radical beauty is a theme but also a communications approach - Therefore we need to channel the concept of radical beauty in to specific problems/issues
- In order to overcome the problem of abstraction through the nature of visual image and detachment to social issues related to radical/social responsible communication we think it is good to contextualize the problem/issue in to the sphere of everyday life and this within the local context
we will post more soon. Right now we are discussion which visual text should we use as the concrete competition outline. this should be known sometime next week. Also: Kernow and Zoe are working on the new web site and poster design, which will be great...and beautiful of course.
Is a pleasure to announce the winners if this years Stickeraward. The project is already going on for several years, nurturing the culture of (mainly) subversive sticker interventions in the public space. I was again invited to be a juror. This years best works are especially strong and the highest ranked are also my personal favorites. Congratulations to the winners and congratulations to Andreas and Alain- the organizers! I hope this project will go on for a long time. We need it!
Bellow are the highest ranked works: 3. place cha / Brasil, 3. place. zemogleba / Spain, 3. place, knudzich / Norway, 2. place sputnikk / Italy, 1. place Joseph Ernst / England
Hey Friends, bellow is the text from my first email i have sent to Memefest emailing list in order to discuss next years competition theme. I am posting it here, because we would be happy to hear your opinion, either in the comments section or directly over email.
We will post more about next Memefest soon. Cheers, Oliver
Radical Beauty. Subversive Beauty.
In the past years Memefest focused on the bad, dark side of media and communications practices. It tried to engage participants in to in depth analysis of the hidden agendas, manipulation, spectacle and simulation of the commercialized public sphere.
We tried to highlight the highly problematic effects and uncover the ugliness hidden bellow hyperaestheticised commercial communication practices. Take culture jamms for exmpl: if good they always show the real and reality drenched in to greed and manipulation is never beautiful.
There is quite a lot of media visuals and other content that either shows/speaks about the bad sites of our world: take documentary photography and investigative journalism for exmpl. On the other hand there is a lot of media content that shows/speaks about the »good« sites of our world: Take magazine covers and advertising for example. The first examples are real and the second are not- at least not in most of the cases.
The question that came to my mind is if beauty can be subversive. Not fake and staged beauty as it is showed in order to portray the ideal life in current media. But beauty that celebrates life and humanity. In the current public sphere there is a lack of beauty. I think that beauty can be really subversive for many reasons.
Few weeks ago i came across two Magnum photographers.
- Constantine Manos and his essay American Colour.
- Bruno Barbey http://www.brunobarbey.com/
Their work got me thinking in this direction.
Bruno Barbey Quote: "I'm more attracted by beauty, humanity, positivity. I don't like myself amongst sordidness. I'd rather capture an amazing shadow playing on a beautiful color than photograph a war scene. I refuse the aesthetics of madness or horror."
Last years experience with using a visual for the festival outline was very postive. We used the trailer for Hichcok’s Birds and the theme was Ecology. This year we could maybe use a photography and a quote.
I am very curious about your opinions.
From September 10 to September 22, Our Petition Against Censorship and Political Pressures on Journalists in Slovenia was signed by 438 Slovenian journalists.
The main reason for the petition is the fact that the current Slovenian government has abused the shortcomings of the media law which had been passed during the period of previous governments. At the same time government changed both media laws at the beginning of its mandate.
The desire of politics to be in control of the media in Slovenia is not new, but the situation in many media institutions shows that pressures on media freedom have strengthened. Although the petition is critical toward the current government, its message is addressed to all political powers and owners of the media in the country.
The petition has been sent to over 320 addresses abroad, including the heads of all member states of the European Union, a number of international organizations, and many foreign media houses.
Starting September 26, the petition can be signed at the offices of the Union of Slovene Journalists and the Slovene Association of Journalists, Wolfova Street 8, Ljubljana.
After the successful launching of the petition we, its initiators, have decided to authorize the Union and the Association of Journalists to collect signatures at the address above.
Ljubljana, September 26th 2007
I know that it's been a long time since we have communictaed with you, but we needed some time off before we start working on planning the Festival for 2008.
We are starting to develop ideas for the new festival. We will post our latest developments (and issues) more reguarly. For now we want to point you to Brian Holmes' blog. His thoughts and writing have made a huge impact on Memefest.
Now that the winners have been announced, you are most certainly interested in the Jury's comments to your submission. All works that were preselected received comments from all jury members in that Category. You can read the comments by using your meme account. Log in at the top right of this web site. The Jury had made several hundred comments to help improve your work or give you the chance to analyze it from different perspectives.
More soon, Meme team
We know you are all waiting for the results of the sixth International Festival of Radical Communication. We wanted to publish the results today, but the Jury is still working away at them. Because we want your submitted works to be carefully evaluated, we will give the Jury two more days to finish the evaluation (basically, the weekend). On Monday the 25th, this year's winners will be announced and published on this web site.
See you then.
The Meme Team
The jury is finalizing the selection process and will be making their decision on June 20th. The winners will finally be announed on June 22nd. In the meantime, the Memefest Galleries are still online.
Thanks again to all who particpated and supported!
Keep it up!
The Memefest Galleries are now online.
We have only posted those works which were related to the theme.
Those entries not related to Hitchcock's trailer were not posted.
Just a reminder that the contest winners will be announced June 20th!
Dear Friends and Participants,
Last week, the contest finally came to a close. We were happy to have received a wide range of submissions from four continents (20 countries!) covering all four categories.
We'd like to thank each and every one of you who participated (we would never be in year 6 without you), and those of you who showed interest in the cause by contacting us and letting us know you are out there, and that you support Memefest. You've proven, yet again, that we truly are a global network.
The pre-selection is currently underway. After that is finished, and over the next month or so, the juries from each of the four categories will discuss the winners.
We are still trying to decide on a super cool concept for this year's award ceremony. But, details are definitely to soon follow.
Contest winners will be announced on June 20th.
In the meantime, please keep Memefest alive by spreading the word!
Meme Team 2007
It's exciting to see the works submitted from four different continents for this year's festival.
The submissions are currently being reviewed, a preselection is being made and, next week, the evaluation process will start.
The results will be known on June 20th. We will of course keep you posted about everything on this blog- so keep on checking this space.
Dear Friends of Memefest,
Just a friendly reminder that the contest closes tomorrow...so, it's not too late to submit!
We would like to thank those of you who have already submitted, and give a few last words of encouragement to those of you who are still working.
Once again, we remain indeted to you guys for making the contest happen.
Let's keep growing!
Dear Friends of Memefest,
We've been receiving a good number of submissions for this year's contest from around the world. And for those of you who have submitted, we want to take the time to thank you.
We also received lots of emails asking us to extend the deadline for submissions. This is why we have decided to extend the submission deadline to Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007.
This gives you three days extra to create something powerful and give it into the contest. We also want to take the time to remind you that we have four categories, both academic and artistic. So, whether you prefer writing or design as your weapon, your opinions are given equal consideration. There are no restrictions here- only your imagination!
The Memefest Team 2007 www.memefest.org
Dear Friends of Memefest,
Since spring is fully here and projects are probably getting crazy, it may seem that the May 20th contest deadline is just impossible to make.
It’s true that is fast approaching, but we’re here to encourage you not to lose your motivation for the cause!
If it weren’t for your submissions in the past, Memefest wouldn’t be what it is today- a 6-year, 5-node global network of like-minded, talented, inspired and inspiring artists, activists, and academics that only keeps growing and generating more interest.
We’re spreading…and it’s thanks to you!
We’d like to thank you for all you’ve done for us as a community, and remind you to keep it up. Remember, every entry counts.
Two weeks ago i visited and lectured at the American University Sharjah in the United Arabic Emirates. It was also interesting because design students are working on Memefest each year - already for the past four years! Last year two students from the Emirates received honorable mentions from Memefest's Jury. It was inspiring to see how enthusiastic the students are working on issues of social responsible communication and especially their interest to communicate with their works with the rest of the world is extremely important. The multicultural perspective helps us understand issues of communication better and gives us the lens through which we can develop socially responsible communications approaches further.
Prof. Shoaib Nabi (with red t-shirt in the middle photo) and i started discussing the possibility of establishing a new node, with it's own web site presence, local network and organization in the Emirates. We will keep you informed about the developments.
Photos: 1# lecture, 2# students, Oliver and Shoaib Nabi, 3# University campus.
Dear Friends of Memefest,
There is about a month left before the contest closes, and we’re working harder than ever to make this year’s festival the most successful yet. And that doesn’t just mean to get the most submissions to date. It also means to have the most rocking jury (details to follow) and to continue, long after the May 20th deadline, to establish a long overdue North American Memefest Network. If you’re in or around North America and would like to collaborate, send us an email with your academic, political, activist, professional or personal affiliations, or just give us your name. The more emails we have, the better! There is no pressure to get involved after that. Just let us know you’re out there…
Thank you, and keep spreading,
Memefest Team 2007
Subvert! Create! Enjoy!
In addition to the aforementioned Professors PK Langshaw (Montreal) and Luli Radfahrer (Sao Paulo), and Australian leading designer and leading scholar (respectively) Jason Grant and Carmen Luke, we’ve got Dr. Phil Graham (another Australian), who works in the renowned Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology (www.philgraham.net), and Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo, better known as the man behind both Montreal zine Four Minutes to Midnight and Loki Design (www.lokidesign.net. Also returning this year are: Fernando Miguel Cuevas Ulitzsch (Bogota), educator, photographer, and “communication for mobilization consultant,” Alain Bieber (Hamburg), journalist, curator, activist, and “REBEL: ART” web community creator (www.rebelart.net), and Martha Patricia Nino (Colombia/UK), educator and theorist of the intersections of art, technology, society, and the body.
More jury details and Festival buzz to follow as the last month before the deadline progresses.
Hey Friends! Welcome to the new global Memefest 2007 web site!
It's been redesigned and the navigation has been improved, so you will be able to browse the web site even faster and more easily.
You can read about this years festival outlines here.
We are still in the process of forming this year's jury. You can already see some of the Jury bios on-line but more will come in the next ten days.
We will post news soon. Stay tuned and, yeah, by the way, what do you think about Hichcock's trailer?
We are working on the Memefest 2007 web site. It should be launched in the next few days. We are all excited to start a new Memefest chapter!!
Here is more info about Memefest 2007:
MEMEFEST 2007- ENTERING THE SECOND HALF OF A DECADE OF CREATION, SUBVERSION, AND RESISTENCE!
Memefest, the International Festival of Radical Communication–born in Slovenia and rapidly reaching a critical mass worldwide– is proud to announce its sixth annual competition. Once again, Memefest is encouraging students, writers, artists, designers, thinkers, philosophers, and counter-culturalists to submit their work to our panel of renowned judges. This year, jury members will include P.K. Langshaw, the Chair of and Associate Professor in the Department of the Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Jason Grant, Director of Inkahoots (http://www.inkahoots.com.au), the adventurous graphic design studio in Brisbane, Australia, Luli Radfahrer, Professor at the Communication and Art School in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and founder of Hipermidia, one of the first digital communication agencies in that country and Carmen Luke a leading international scholar in the field of media literacy and new media, feminist studies and globalization, based in Brisbane.
Traditionally, the Memefest team has asked participants to respond to the opinions expressed in a selected text using the medium appropriate for each category (Communication and Sociology- both written, Visual Arts, and Beyond….). This year, for the first time, we have chosen the same text for the academic and artistic categories, and, also unlike other years, where the chosen texts were essays, or book or manifesto excerpts, this year’s chosen text is the 1960’s movie trailer for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. This trailer features a witty, cynical, and humorous, yet dark and serious soliloquy by the director himself.
Even more pertinent (might we say urgent) today than when first seen generations ago in movie theatres, Hitchcok’s genius commentary on man’s relationship with nature will no doubt provoke a plethora of unequivocal responses. And, as always, those whose work does not take a conventional format can enter the Beyond… category, where the name of the game is challenging mainstream practices and beliefs! Beyond… continues to grow in popularity as a category not only because of its avant-garde appeal but because it is open to non-students as well.
Memefest occurs completely online at www.memefest.org, and all entries will be available for full access and commentary in the site galleries. In 2006, Memefest received almost 500 entries from participants of every continent on the globe (‘cept Antarctica). We hope to get bigger, and to spread more of those good infectious ideas, so keep thinking- and producing. Deadline for submissions is May 20th 2007.
The video that serves as this year's festival text is now uploaded on our new server! It loads much faster than in the past weeks.
You can see it here.
Memefest's main web site- memefest.org has been uploaded to our new server. The web site will be hosted on the server of the Center for Social Psychology at the Faculty for Social Sciences in Ljubljana.
Not all links are active at the moment, but most are. We will be working on this in the next days and, if everything goes well, the whole transfer will be finished on Friday. As you can see, the web site loads much faster than in the past, which is good.
We are also working in Memefest's 2007 web site. It should be on-line in about 1 week.
If you are interested in this year's festival outlines, check the blog post below. More soon...
In previous years, we always choose essays or book exerpts as the texts to which participants responded with their submissions.
This year we have previously announced the outline text for the category of Visual Communication. Since the overall issue of this year's festival is Ecology, we found the document »Earth charter« to be a very interesting lead for your critical and creative work.
While searching for the outlines for the Sociology and Communication Studies categories, the Memefest team discussed the idea of using visual material as an outline. It was hard to find a challenging one, until Gal suggested trailer for Hithcock film »The birds.« Here it goes, Earth charter is out.
The outlines for Memefest's Visual Arts AND Sociology and Communication Studies is the genius comment on man's relationship with nature.
Hey all! This years Memefest theme is Ecology. We are still deciding on the outline text for the Sociology and Communication Studies section. But the outline for Visual Arts is known. You can read the outlines- an excerpt from the Earth Charter- here
. Other news is that we are about to launch Memefest Mexico, which should be on-line soon. The Mexican based collective is facilitated by Hector Espinoza, a two times Memefest winner.
The new web site should be on-line in the next month, but we will keep you posted on all the developments on this space. So keep returning to check things out.
Great news is also that Inkahoots will design this years Memefest poster.
More to come soon.
Dear Friends, we are excited to announce that Memefest is about to take roots on another Continent. While we always received great submissions from Australia in the past years, Memefest OZ is our new node in the international Memefest network and will work locally on socially responsible communication issues. The initiative started after Oliver Vodeb met Zoë Sadokiersky at Sydney UTS, where he was giving a speech about Memefest and radical communication. Zoë is now facilitating the Australian Memefest node. Based in Sydney, current Memefest OZ collaborators are also from Melbourne and Brisbane.
If you would like to collaborate, feel free to contact us: memefest.oz AT gmail.com
Give your self a gift: sign the petition.
How many hours a day do you spend using some kind of ICT tool? Have you ever wondered how it connects with violence against women? Can things like mobile phones, webcams, blogs and videogames transform power relations between women and men?
For 16 days, this campaign has one call: take control of information communications technology, and use it in activism to eliminate violence against women.
VAW AND ICTs in brief
Hundreds of women made private public by testifying about street sexual harrassment in the Blank Noise Project Blogathon in India.
In 2004, a multi-media messanging (MMS) clip of two teenage students engaged in a private sexual act was circulated and eventually put on sale by a third-party in a popular auction site.
In New Mexico, the Domestic Violence Virtual Trial helps judges and court staff learn about issues and challenges in VAW cases, and compare rulings with colleagues.
In 2001, a man was charged with murdering his wife after he intercepted her email and learnt that she planned to leave him. Survivors of domestic violence search for support online and use untraceable, donated cell phones to ensure secure communication.Best-selling video game, "Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas" encourages their millions of players to treat female sex workers as objects of aggression and murder.
In South Africa, women survivors of violence gain skills in digital storytelling to share their experiences and courage.
A letter from two times Memefest winner Hector Espinosa:
México D.F. 31 Oct. 06
My name is Héctor Espinosa. I’m Mexican. I’m worry about the repression that happens in Oaxaca, as well about the governmental actions that happens in the whole Latin America.
We live in war, oppression tyranny, that push the people to organize them self’s, as it happens in Oaxaca at this moment and in some other parts of Latin America. The problems between people and the government aren’t new, the social development in México is unequal for the poor people. The small ethnic groups, as the statistics said, are living in hard times, because they are not included in the “progress” that only includes the rich ones, the ones, that can push the people to be unhopeful. Yes, the power structures are made of repression, which push everyone to the corner who doesn’t agree with those structures that only obey the big boss - that is the money.
Oaxaca is living in hard times, the people are living in nightmare. That only will wake up with breaking the silence and tell everyone in the world what’s happening. I think that silence kills, kills the soul of those, who die in the fire line between the tyranny, the force of power that the government has on their command – the “police”. I think it’s important to let the world know about this injustice that is happening in México. I’m not a press reporter, I’m just a Mexican that is worry about the massacre that is happening the Oaxacan people. For humanity reasons as a human being, I’m begging you - let’s take action! The one who just read about that, who knows about it, can stop the silence that only helps those structures of power.
More info here: http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml
This letter was sent today. Let's see what happens.
Dear Mr. Illy,
Communication professionals and artists in Slovenia have launched an initiative regarding the planned construction of gas terminals in the Bay of Trieste. You can view the details of this initiative on the following website ( http://www.antiterminal.blogspot.com ). The initiative is an expression of our opposition to this ecologically harmful intervention in the Adriatic Sea. It also takes note of your considerable personal involvement in the gas terminal project which is inconsistent with your and the Illy company's pro-environmental rhetoric. Specifically, Illy Coffee, the company with which you have a close professional affiliation, has built its reputation and its corporate culture (if we are to believe its public relations propaganda) on a strong collective commitment to a healthy environment.
We recently read that, after the relatively quiet summer months, activities related to the construction of gas terminals on the border will resume. We are writing to ask you for your assessment of the environmental consequences that these gas terminals will cause and for how you view your own responsibility for these questionable projects.
We would very much like to meet you for a discussion of these matters (either an informal meeting or a public round table discussion) during which we could present our views and have an opportunity to listen to yours. As an incentive for you to come, we send your a series of original coffee cups designed by six Slovenian artists that address the ecological consequences the gas terminal project will have on our shared sea.
We look forward to your reply
Sincerely yours, Maja Hawlina and Oliver Vodeb
You can buy the famous Antiterminal Coffee Cup collection at the Museum Shop : Mestni muzej, Gosposka 15, 1000 Ljubljana and get involved in this initiative.
All profits will go to a social responsible communications fund and will be used for this and further campaigns. If you have any ideas for further actions, post them in the comments box bellow.
Hey folks, check out the info about the Stickersafari and come and join us in Hamburg!
ABOUT THE STICKER PHENOMENON
When passing through our urban surroundings there is a tiny colored phenomenon visible on surfaces like spouts, windows, doorways, toilets, public transport, etc. – somehow stickers have been always there and are a little more than small notes. It seems that urban communication has seen a shift in responsibility: after years of occupation of our cities by huge commercial advertising campaigns resulting in a pictorial flood of billboards, ever-present sponsoring of communal and public facilities the corporates seemed to have won the fight for the urban decoration and logoization of our everyday life. Young activists all over the world learned how easy it is to create their own signs and logos which are able to subvert the existing semiotic system by using the known signs, changing them and putting them into a new context – the context of eduction (in the meaning of Kants Aufklärung) and appropriation. We know the movement called graffiti, but unlike grafitti these infantile little stickers don’t have the gesture of destruction inherent in their form – rather the gesture of connotation and satiric annotation. Those interventions are much more representative for a critical mind seeking to contribute to the social urban interexchange, without doubting the principle of defacing private property. The urban semiotic system is no longer a hierarchical system of guidance through a consumeristic cosmos promising happiness, love, fulfillment and enlightenment by buying characterless fetishes of mass production. It has changed from an emitter-acceptor principle to an open, democratic playground – a world that is ready for your comment. The first international sticker award was launched on January 2005 and had over 2500 submissions of graphics and photos from all over the world. This year already more than 5000 sticker works arrived – and we will continue to focus on the collection and exhibition of international stickers and want to encourage you to take action yourself by making your everyday surrounding into one that suits you best and one that represents you and your individual ideas at the highest level. No compromises.
A speech by Jello Biafra.
Memefest 2006 best ranked Colombian students with Memefest 2006 t-shirt, designed by typography prof. Claudia Jurado Grisales- middle of photo.
For those who haven t yet checked out the written comments to your submitted works, written by the Memefest Jury in the evaluation process: go to www.memefest.org and log in with your Meme account data in the menu at the right side. Best 60 works have received special comments from each Jury member! This feedback will give you interdisciplinary insight in your works and can help you improve your future radical communication approaches.
The comments to each work are accessible only by the author. We have got lot of feedback from people asking us about publishing all Jury s comments publicly on our web site. Here we ask you for your opinion. Do you think all Jury comments to the festival submission should be made public? Please let us know! We think this is a very important issue and we need you opinion on this!
If you have and comments or questions please feel free to contact us on memefest at memefest.org or contact the Jury members directly. We also encourage you to browse our on-line gallery with all festival submissions. Each submission has a comment box, where you can rate the works, comment on them and discuss. We encourage you to do so, because by doing so you are helping exchange knowledge, insight, practice and building networks with other comrades around the world.
Also: Sandy Kaltenborn, jury member in the Visual arts section has written a special text, where he commented the Festival, the evaluation process, the submitted works and the competition outlines. You can find his critical views on the festival in the news section.
Memefest founder Oliver Vodeb is currently networking in Australia, trying to establish a strong Memefest node Down under...We will keep you posted on the developments. We are also working on a new Memefest node in Mexico, reworking our Latino America web site and building up a team in Belgrade for Memefest Balkan. A new initiative also came from Montreal, to establish a Memefest canter for North America. If you are interested in collaboration on this project, feel free to contact us.
We wish you a great summer!
Memefest team 2006
One of the best parts for us, who are working on the Memefest project, is the tight Collaboration with the Jurors. This year
Sandy Kaltenborn, Jury member in the Visual Arts section, took a different approach to the evaluation process. Sandy decided to give all participants equal number of points. He thinks that a festival that gives awards and produces winners, produces also losers. This practice in his opinion reproduces the basic ideology of the neoliberal capitalist system. He also disagreed with the Visual arts festival outlines- “The declaration towards global ethic”.
We think he’s views are interesting and very important and we encourage you to read his arguments in the special text he wrote about all this issues and to discuss it with us. (You can also write to Sandy Kaltenborn if you like...)
You can view and download a pdf. document of his text here.
It was a great event- tonight we streamed the Memefest 2006 Award ceremony in to the global data sphere, globally connecting the Memefest network and other interested people...
We enjoyed the on-line event a lot and we would like to thank SUR-RADIO (Bogota, Lima, Caracas), BURN.FM (Barcelona) and ALTRED (Medellin) for their collaboration to make this on-line streaming event happen!
It was a intense year- again establishing new nodes in our network and continuing with our mission to interrogate the current media environment and communications practices...
Check out this animation and have a look at this years awarded works. We will post also all works that received a honorable mention and also a file of tonight's streaming in this blog very soon...
(animation made by neja and aka)
Ok, this is it!
To see the Memefest 2006 on-line award streaming ceremony on this web site on Friday June 23rd, you need to follow these simple steps (For PC and MAC):
1. Download the VLC player here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
2. Install it to your computer
3. Click this link for audio transmition: http://openserver.cccb.org/burn.m3u
and this link for video transmition.
4. Open the file with the VLC player
5. Enjoy the streaming!!!!
Ps: Be sure to Check out your local time and be sure you log in when we stream!
For life updates on the streaming, check the comments box bellow!
Hey folks! Memefest 2006 Gallery with the submitted works will be on-line June 17th.
News about the on-line streaming Award ceremony will be posted on this blog soon.
Today at 2pm (Colombian time) Memefest will stream a video conference, in which Memefest founder Oliver Vodeb and Memefest Brasil representtive, Pulo Hartmann will present the project to the new "Memefest cultural center" in Sao Paulo, Brasil. SURradio, Memefest's friends from Bogota, will stream the conference over internet in to the datasphere.
You can listen to the conference here.
Brasil—-teleconference/on-site=SESC ITAQUERA - SP
(added on friday: Sao Paulo at "Bar Azaléia" lounch of the open Memefest grafiti wall...Transmition at 14.30 Colombian time, same link as above..
Deadline for submission is now closed! We received almost 400 works from 30 Countries, all continents!
All the entries to this year Memefest have been uploaded and are now in the hands of our jury. The winners will be announced on June 23rd!
We are working on the on-line gallery with all the submitted works. It should be on line, for you to explore, very soon.
Thanks to all participants, collaborators and supporters!!!
We will keep you posted with more news in the next days on this space! If you want to recieve our email news, sign up in the maillist application on the right side.
Cheers, Memefest 2006 Team
Dear Friends of Memefest,
We’ve been receiving a high number of submissions for this year’s contest from all Continents. And for those of you who have submitted, we want to take the time to thank you. As always, you’ve done your part to make Memefest successful; however, we are eager for even more submissions, and even more success.
We want to remind you that this success is not driven by personal causes. It is very much, and has always been, guided by a global cause. Every year, we have worked hard to top the number of submissions we had received the previous year and to build a bigger international network of dissent. And, every year, we’ve met that goal (and then some!). This number is important to all of us who think differently about mainstream media, culture, and business (you wouldn’t be receiving this e-mail otherwise!) because it means that the world is responding to a different message. Memefest’s success has also been encouraging to Sociology, Communications, and Political Science (just to name a few) departments worldwide, who often feel pressured by institutional beliefs to give a “balanced” version of the truth. Unfortunately, this “balanced” version all too often glosses over the exploitative realities of the media machine in an effort to defend what people (i.e. corporations and the government) who work within it think and do.
This is why we have decided to extend the submission deadline to Monday, May 29th, 2006. This gives you one and half extra weekends to create something powerful and give it into the contest. We also want to take the time to remind you that we have four categories, both academic and artistic. So, whether you prefer writing or design as your weapon, your opinions are given equal consideration. There are no restrictions here- only your imagination!
Finally, a very big “Thank You” for your continued support in promoting Memefest, which has helped carry us into our 5th birthday. We hope you are all here to celebrate our 10th. And we hope the world will have changed a least a little bit because of it.
The Memefest Team 2006
Great news! Memefest Latinoamerica launched a new Blog.
The blog is part of the Latinoamerica website and will serve as a dialogic space for the Memefest communities in Latino America.
If you are interrested to write on the Blog send email to Meme Latino Art director Milena Garcia-- milena at memefest.org
Local communication for global ethics
Memefest workshop in Manizales, Colombia. 18., 19. and 20th of April 2006
It was my second time in Colombia and besides lecturing at several Universities in Bogota, i was invited to give a speech at the Festival de la imagen in Manizales and to make a workshop at the design department at the University Caldas. This time i wanted to do the workshop with some of my friends, who formed Memefest Latinoamerica in the last year and a half. I worked together with Milena Garcia, prof. Claudia Jurado and photographer Fernando Cuevas. (Paulo Hartmann –Memefest Brasil- also joined for one day)
The title of the workshop was »Local communication for global ethics«. This years Memefest outlines for the visual arts category are taken from the »Declaration towards global ethics«. The document is an urgently needed response to the fundamental economic, environmental, social, and political global crisis. As a proposed addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that demands more be remedied, it states that a global problem necessitates a global solution. Therefore, a solution is impossible without a sort of communal "spiritual awakening" that will lead to the development of a global ethic- a collective consciousness of values, standards, and morals.
After a polemic discussion on the document itself, we formed four groups. Participants - students and other media enthusiasts, who came from all over Colombia, decided than, what theme in particular they want to work on. Although the ethics that we discussed have a Global dimension we wanted to focus on local, Colombian problems.
The first group decided to communicate the fact that the Colombian brutal Civil war immensely harms the national economy as well as personal, family budgets. The second group communicated the urgent need to help former paramilitaries to integrate again in the Society. The third communicated the need for good, mind opening education and the fourth, put emphasis in manipulation of information by Colombian media.
The media that were produced were: t.-shirts, stickers, stencils, a typographic installation on the design departments door and wall, stamps and a poster. We will launch shortly a blog on our Memefest Latinoamerica web page and invite all workshop participants to discuss the workshop more.
The results of the workshop were excellent, especially considering the time we had (a bit more than 12 hours). Not only the results, the communication tools were very good- they were also used at the festivals closing night, for communication to the festival participants, while using the festival as a media itself, also the whole creative and learning process was very productive.
Working intensely with such a group of people is a pleasure and to me was the best part of my teaching in Colombia. The (Slovenian/European) environment i came from is very different than the Colombian. Especially the nature of problems, this workshop developed tactical media for. However the colonisation of the public sphere is in my observation similar in nature in both Countries. Therefore we could all, though from different backgrounds, collaborate so perfectly.
What I knew from my first visit in November 2004 is that students in Colombia are extremely curious and motivated to learn. I was impressed then and i was impressed this time again, with how much positive energy, creativity and enthusiasm but also self initiative, the workshops participants tackled the tasks. Not only the participants understood the nature of tactical media very quickly (some of them are already involved in similar initiatives), but their design skills and the ability to work in different media and with different materials were also impressive.
Lots of participants expressed the wish to participate in the Memefest project in the future. I really hope we will stay in touch and collaborate more! Thanks to everyone for this experience!
You can see photos of the workshop here.
Back from Colombia. More soon.
On Thursday night in Belgrade, during the B-link festival (organized by O3one gallery and MTS), it was the first public presentation of Memefest. Jasa in Belgrade, speaking in serbian and Paulo Hartmann from Brasil, speaking in english via stream, presented Memefest activities, the concept and future plans. In the background Memefest galleries were rolling and the whole evening was very inspiring and interactive. The connection was in one moment bad, so we couldn't hear Paulo for few moments, but hey - it's the internet reality, with all good and bad things it brings. You have to know, that in Belgrade, if it rains, the internet could be down totally and also radio transmissions are breaking... But the problem was solved instantly. Paulo's experience, he shared with us, is of utmost importance for establishing the regional center Memefest Balkan. Around 30 people who attended were very interested in the whole idea. They wanted to know how the outline texts are chosen, if we plan to publish theoretical works, how Paulo started up the Memefest Brasil, what are Memefest activities during the year, between the festivals... Jasa got some new contacts, one guy who runs an urban culture portal is interested to bring his professor, neuro- psychiatrist to give a lecture about communication on higher levels of consciousness, one girl gave us a gift - copy of a documentary movie about largest gypsy community Shutka in Macedonia. Very strong and bizzare movie. The reality, you could see only in Kusturica movies. Would like to share it with you. Looking forward for next virtual conference!
After the student movement ‘Resistance’ dethroned Milosevic dictature, the activism of young people stopped. The clear enemy of the free-minded people is gone. Current opponents are lions in the sheep skins, but not less dangerous. Post-war tycoons, yellow ‘porno’ press, turbo-folk mentality, ultra reactionary orthodox church and of course agitatory nationalistic political parties, whose presidents are in Hague, charged with war crimes.
Still the fact is, that people are living better. And got used to the situation. With the opening of space for critical reflection, Memefest Balkan will spread meme of social activism. To move the ‘silent majority’ of normal people in abnormal state.
Thus the human on this year’s poster is small. But what he thinks, writes, designs and says aloud is so much more important. And is not limited by paper or any other media, but moves the boundaries and actually jumps into the broader public space.
Memefest Balkan initiative has been developing for some time. After a few months work in the spring last year the project stopped because some members of the crew moved to live and work abroad. Now Memefest Balkan is re-establishing. The initiative has been taken by a political scientist with longtime media experience and a friend of Oliver Vodeb, Jasa Gabrijan. He is currently living in Belgrade. Memefest Balkan network is under construction and will be part of Memefest international network. At the moment we are preparing website and few days ago here published poster has been designed.
Author of the poster is Aleksandar Macasev, artist, designer, professor and activist. You can see his work on www.the-mighty.com. Between april 3. and 8., Memefest team will present the concept and meaning of the festival Memefest at the B-link – Belgrade festival of new communication.
Our great friends in Belgrade are also Milica and Marko from O3one gallery (www.o3.co.yu).
Memefest Balkan team
Here is a invitation for you to listen to Memefest's Jury member Kenneth FitzGerald on (internet) radio:
Dear family, friends, and fellow travellers, If reading my writing, or listening to me talk about design in person isn't bad enough, tomorrow (Friday, March 17) you can hear me on your computer. I'll be the guest on "Design Matters with Debbie Millman," an internet radio talk show.
Design Matters "...is an opinionated and provocative talk radio show that combines a stimulating point of view about graphic design, branding and topics of timely cultural consequence. In a business world that is dependent on change, design is one of the few differentiators left. Explore the challenging and compelling canvas of today’s design world with Debbie Millman with some of today's design superstars heard live every Friday...." The VoiceAmerica Business network radio station is the industry leader in Internet talk radio, and Design Matters has 140,000 listeners. (Yikes!)
The show is live from 3-4PM EST, rebroadcast during the following week, then archived. You can even download it as a Podcast! Plus you're welcome to call in live and toll free (say you're "Zeke from Bemidji" or "Susy from Dracut")--the number is 1-866-233-7861.
You can reach the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from these locations: You can go : here.
Or you can go here, through the Voice America link: http://www.business.voiceamerica.com/
You'll need Windows Media Player or RealPlayer to listen in, but you can download the technology for free here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp http://www.freedownloadhq.com/RealPlayer.html
To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following: Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select Subscribe to Podcast and enter the following: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.
Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”
Kenneth FitzGerald : old dominion university :
visual arts building 112 : norfolk virginia 23529 : 757 683 5459
I just recieved the "Precarity Issue" of Greenpepper Magazine today. Very strong content and extremelly well designed. You should get one for your self to read about the dynamics of worker slavery today. I'll write more when i read through it.
Another very important project is about to start. Maytagzine invites you for collaboration!
Memefest always supported projects that deal with media in a socially responsible manner. Besides inviting you to cruise our web site and check out this years
Festival outlines, we also invite you to check out our partner project Mediaaward and we encurage you to participate.
Here is their Call for Entires!
St. Gilgen Media Award – Call for Entries
“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.” Thomas Jefferson
The St. Gilgen International School in Austria proudly presents the first international Media Award. With special emphasis on communication and media education the St. Gilgen International School supports innovative and creative ideas in the field of New Media.
All entries are under the Creative Commons Licence and are free to be developed further for an international Open Source and Open Idea Network and Archive of the best international ideas. The theme of the 2006 competition is “Lifecycle of Knowledge”. Entries are accepted in The categories: Audio, Video, Image and Interactive.
Prizes include two main prizes “Best Media Contribution” of € 10.000 each, six prizes “Best Contribution per Category” of € 3.000 each, and full and partial scholarships at the St.Gilgen International School. Participation is free of charge.
Join the New Media World and develop with us great ideas for the future: www.media-award.com
Information about the award and the application procedures at:
Deadline for submissions is May 1st, 2006!
Please help us build an Open Source and Open Idea Network and Archive for educational purposes. Send along this email to all those who might benefit from this information!
So, here we go! Memefest's 2006 on-line presence is almost final. This beta version of the web site has ALL information you might need to participate in the Fifth Annual Memefest- MARKING HALF A DECADE OF CREATION, SUBVERSION, AND RESISTENCE!
There are a few design fixes left, that we will do till March 5th, when our web site will be complete.
You are kindly invited to browse the Content and see what we have prepaired this year for you! If you might have any further questions, contact us : memefest at memefest dot org
Jason Grant from the great design studio Inkahoots, from Brisbane, just confirmed his participation in the Visual arts Jury.
New Jury member is also Michael Shaw, author of the great Bag news blog.
Also: Radical designer and Memefest friend Kevin Yuen Kit Lo is on board. Kevin will evaluate works submitted to the Beyond... category. More to come....
Here is the latest update:
We are currently working on the new, Memefest 2006 web site. It should be on line very soon. Memefest 2006 visual arts, sociology and communications studies outline texts are selected. They will be published on the new web site along with all other festival info. This year in the sociology and communications studies section, we will analyse Internet's gift economies and in the visual arts competition we will think and create around the subject of global ethics.
Jurors who came on board lattely are designer and design writer Kenneth Fitzgerald, designers Sandy Kaltenborn, Kernow Craig and social theorist Richard Barbrook. Their and other CV's will be published on the new web site.
Memefest 2006 deadline for submissions will be May 20th, 2006 and not May 8th as previously stated. To get information via email about the festival and to know when the new web site is on line, sign up in our maillist application on the right side, or keep checking this space.
-PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY-
January 17, 2006
Dear supporters of Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble, Your support is needed now more than ever. Whereas the hopes for dismissal of Steve's case were high last fall, on Thursday we received bad news on the recommendation concerning the pre-trial motions. Although it has been over 18 months since Steve was charged with "mail fraud" and "wire fraud"-charges carrying a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in jail-he will now have to wait at least 8 months, and possibly much longer, for the final decision on these motions. (Please see www.caedefensefund.org for more about the case.)
Magistrate H. Kenneth Schroeder recommended that all our motions for dismissal of the case and suppression of evidence be denied, with one exception: there will be a hearing on the suppression of statements made while Steve was illegally detained. (Schroeder's recommendations also include a footnote stating that since Steve's co-defendant Robert Ferrell is gravely ill at this point, Ferrell's case is being held in dormancy.)
Magistrate Schroeder's recommendations will next go to the Federal District Court to be heard by Judge John T. Elfvin, who will make the final ruling on the pre-trial motions, thereby determining whether or not the case will go to trial. If the motions are denied by Elfvin, Steve can choose to appeal to the next higher federal court, or go directly to trial.
LEGAL DETAILS AND TIMELINE
Schroeder's recommendation cited legal precedent that "An indictment returned by a legally constituted and unbiased grand jury. if valid on its face, is enough to call for trial of the charge" [even if] "the grand jury acted on the basis of inadequate or incompetent evidence." (Please see http://www.caedefensefund.org/announcements/order1.12.06.pdf for the full text of the recommendation.) In other words, once the legal machine is turned on, it is very difficult to turn off. Therefore, supporters should prepare for the likelihood that Steve's case will go to trial.
Within the next 10 days Steve's lawyer, Paul Cambria, will file an appeal of Schroeder's recommendations. Steve's lawyers will then get a hearing for their appeal of all of Schroeder's recommendations in Judge Elfvin's court. There, Cambria will make essentially all the same arguments as at the hearing last spring before Schroeder. (For the press release detailing those arguments and more information about the case, please see http://www.caedefensefund.org/releases/051705_Release.html) This appeal hearing will probably happen in mid-summer of 2006. We will then have to wait once again for Elfvin's final ruling on all the motions for dismissal and suppression.
(There is no date for the other hearing, on the suppression of statements, but it will happen sometime within the next 60 days.)
SUPPORT NEEDED MORE THAN EVER
Although any actual trial is still far off, your continued support has made, and continues to make, all the difference in this case. Without your support, Steve would probably be in jail now awaiting trial. As we know, justice in politically motivated trials is won in the court of public opinion as much as in the court of law.
Because of your support, we have raised the more than $200,000 necessary for Steve and Robert Ferrell's defense. Due to the overwhelming success of this fundraising effort, there are 3 main forms of support that we now need:
1) Publicizing this precedent-setting case and its implications for artists, intellectuals, researchers and others-particularly in outlets that will reach the Buffalo population. In this regard, we are still hoping for a real investigative story into the DoJ's and prosecuting District Attorney William Hochul's motivations in this case. Anyone who is interested or knows such a journalist-particularly one who could spend some time in the Buffalo area-is encouraged to contact the Defense Fund at: media (at) caedefensefund.org
2) Publicizing this case wherever possible. Anyone interested in helping to publicize this case through creative means at the College Art Association Annual Conference (February 22-25 in Boston) please contact the Defense Fund at: media (at) caedefensefund.org
3) At the time of the actual trial, should one occur, helping to mobilize support for a massive demonstration in Buffalo, NY.
Thank you once again for your continued support.
The CAE Defense Fund
media @ caedefensefund.org
Last Saturday, in the middle of Hamburg’s biggest shopping street, some forty people gathered for a Pillowfight Flash Mob. Initiated by the secret Pillowfight Klub, which is said to have it's headquarters somewhere in northern Germany. The mobbers received directions via the Pillowfightklub.de web site, 10 hours and 34 minutes from somebody calling himself Harry Kipper. Police came after 30 minutes, but the mobbers disappeared as fast and unpredictable as they came together. Juhej and juhej! ;)
We are currently working on the new, Memefest 2006 web site. It should be on line very soon. Memefest 2006 visual arts, sociology and communications studies outline texts are selected. They will be published on the new web site along with all other festival info.
This year in the sociology and communications studies section, we will analyse Internet's gift economies and in the visual arts competition we will think and create around the subject of global ethics.
Memefest 2006 deadline for submissions will be may 8th, 2006. To get information via email about the festival and to know when the new web site is on line, sign up in our maillist application on the right side, or keep checking this space.
Memefest 2006 web site with all the info about the new festival should be on line sometime around new year.
We already decided on the outlines for the Sociology and Communications studies competition, but are still in the process to deciding on the text for the Visual arts category. We are also working on a new web site design and slightly different structure. Some great new jurors will be on board this year too. We are excited to take the biggest festival of its kind in the world to a new level! We will let you know about everything very soon.
If you want to participate in the organisation/promotion or any other dimension of Memefest let us know and send us an email.
The previous week was marked by several facts that, as they always, shook the political and social sphere of Colombia; a terrorist attack with a car bomb on a senator of the republic, national unemployment summoned by all the Workers Unions for the day 12th October (Day of the Race) and the most important - the great “minga” that walked during three days through several towns and two departments of Colombia, arriving on the 12th October at the city of Manizales http://colombia.indymedia.org/. Around 20 thousand natives marched and made multiple requests to the National Government.
All these events served as a frame for the Day of Freedom of Expression and the Right to the Life. The events took place on the University of Calda in front of the students and the community in general.
This event was created by students, gathered in several diverse places in the university, with different academic and cultural expressions and took place there, where MEMEFEST LATINOAMERICA did his first appearance in front of the public in the city of Manizales, in the Imagoteca, where on this day the presentation of the activities and of the Web site took place and where also an official invitation to the students was made, so that they could be a part of the project. Memefest/la made a sample of winning works of the previous years, as well as a selection of works presented/displayed to the festival in this year by students of the program of Visual Design – there were presented four selected videos of students of the program of Visual Design. There were also presented works by the students who won in Colombia in version 2005 of the Festival. The exhibition that will be in the Imagoteca in the University of Calda until the end of November is supported by the digital magazine FLIGHT (www.revistafuga.com) a communication project and a place that takes much interest among the young people from the city of Manizales.
On the Day there were conferences, rock concert, film, stencil, circus, exhibitions, etc. It was a space thought by young people for young people whom they love to express itself through different media. A space that reunited good initiatives that need an echo between the university community of the city.
There thanks to the “Kolectivo Kultural Tierra Libre” to invite and to allow us to do these things and to open those spaces that are really needed in our city, thanks also to the University of Calda, its program of university coexistence, the office of cultural extension, the Imagoteca and Visual Design to open their doors to us.
We hope that the next Day will be even greater and repels in the whole city.
We would also like to invite you to see the pictures on our Memefest colombia web page.
Milena Garcia, Memefest Latinoamerica
Memefest collaborator Tom Liacas just started a very interesting project, "Ethiquette", which is an information service that brings responsible product and service choices to Quebec- Canada consumers through it's website and its bi-monthly electronic newsletter. Check it out and get involved.
When i was in Berlin at »The-abc- semiotics of resistance« conference in August,
Frederic Dubois, freelance journalist and co-editor of the great Reader
"Autonomous media" made this interview with me. It is in German language, but since it's good and interesting i decided to post it here, for those of you who know German.
I know it has been pretty quiet on the Memeblog lately but even we have to take some rest from time to time.:) We are again on track and are currently working on the new Memefest concept. We will let you know about tour progress on this blog soon. Btw- if any of you wants to collaborate with Memefest in any way, send us an email to: memefest at memefest dot org.
"Wir ärgern fette Firmen"
Der Präsident der slowenischen Organisation Memefest, Oliver VODEB, war vor kurzem im Rahmen der Veranstaltung "Das ABC - zur Semiotik des Widerstandes" in Berlin. Er spricht über seine Hass-liebe zur Werbeindustrie und die Notwendigkeit einer Gift Economy. Aufruf zu einer Kultur-Störung!
INTERVIEW FRÉDÉRIC DUBOIS
FD: Sie behaupten das Memefest sei ein Festival der radikalen Kommunikation. Was heisst das?
OV: Radikale Kommunikation setzt sich für eine gleiche Machtverteilung ein. Es ist Aktivismus, Medienaktivismus. Nichtkapitalinteressierte Medien organisieren sich auf einer basis-demokratischen Art und produzieren radikale Informationen. Memefest ist ein Festival in dem Teilnehmer aus aller Welt Texte und Illustrationen [subversive Fotos, Antiwerbungen, politische Plakate] vorlegen und wo eine Jury eine Auswahl trifft. Memefest ist auch ein Werkzeug, eine Platform für Wissen und Inspiration. Die Assoziation bietet Hilfe mit Softwarelösungen, Mentoring, Consulting für Gruppen die interessiert sind auf lokaler Ebene radikale Kommunikation zu machen.
FD: Werbung wird immer mehr ein integraler Teil der Kultur. Es wird unsichtbar. Culture Jamming, was auf Deutsch so viel wie Kultur-Störung heißt, versucht die Menschen darauf aufmerksam zu machen. Ist Kultur-Störung mehr als Kinder die Werbungen bekritzeln und mit Spraydosen ihre Frust ausüben?
OV: Kutur-Störung ist nicht nur eine Mode. Einerseits ist es befriedigend die Zeichen der Konsumgesellschaft zu manipulieren und in die Medien eingreifen kann. Die Leute lernen auch dabei so viel über die Medien. Anderseits ist Kultur-Störung eher eine Aktion die man als einen Anfang verstehen muss. Es dient dazu auf einer visuellen Ebene Provokation und Konflikt zu zeigen. Sie muss aber - um Kanäle, Gehirne und Augen zu öffnen - weiterführen und von anderen Taktiken ausgebaut werden. Der Dialog muss das Ziel sein. Bis dahin ist es ein langer Weg und man muss zugeben, dass die meisten Kultur-Störungs Aktionen mit dem Stift und der Spraydose enden.
FD: Auf Ihrer Website steht dass zu viel Talent und Wissenschaft durch die Werbe- und Marketingindustrie versaümt wird. Werbung tötet also Kreativität?
OV: Zu einem gewissen Grad wird Kreativität durch Werbung standardisiert und durch einen geschlossenen Diskurs zensuriert. Wer kommerziele Werbung macht, der erzeugt Kommunikation die nichts neues entwickelt. Es geht mehr um einen selbstreferenziellen Fetischismus: ein Diskurs der sich auf Design beschränkt. Was der neoliberale Kapitalismus geschafft hat, ist den Leuten weis zu machen dass dieser Diskurs der natürliche Stand der Dinge sei. Wenn nicht-regierungs Organisationen (NGOs) zum Beispiel über Kommunikation denken, dann denken sie an Werbung. Die meisten NGOs die Geld haben, zahlen Werbeagenturen um deren Kampagnen zu machen. Das Problem ist, dass die sozialen Probleme immer ein Ergebnis einer Macht-Hierarchie sind, die einen ideologischen Hintergrund hat. Die Werbeagenturen würden nie die Proleme der sozialen und macht Hierarchie befragen oder recherchieren. Sie machen coole Repräsentation: oberflächlichen Design.
FD: In wie fern machen die "Radikalen" das besser?
OV: Memefest und radikale Kommunikationsexperten denken und arbeiten in einem komplett anderen Diskurs als Werbeagenturen. Nehmen wir eine Kampagne über die Problematik der Drogensucht. Die Kampagnen die existieren, sind immer gegen Drogen. Aber das Problem der Drogen ist ja die Prohibition an sich. Sie ist ein Instrument sozialer Kontrolle, die dann eine Kultur des Drogenkonsums erschafft und den Missbrauch hervorruft. Wenn man eine radikale Kampagne gegen Drogenmissbrauch machen würde, müsste man eine Kampagne machen die den Leuten die Augen öffnet. Eine Werbeagentur würde das nie machen.
FD: Man spricht in allen Spheren zunehmend von offenen Netwerken. Was bedeutet dieses Konzept für Memefest?
OV: Memefest könnte in Slowenien nicht überleben, weil es keine kritische Menge gibt. Deshalb überlegen wir speziell seit dem letzen Jahr, ein virtuelles Netwerk zu schaffen. Es sind nicht nur Teilnehmer unserer Wettbewerbe beteiligt, sondern selbstorganisierte Projekte. Wir unterstützen den Aufbau autonomer Zentren, wie in Brasilien und Kolumbien, die lokal und nicht nur virtuell arbeiten, und mit anderen Memefest Zentren kommunizieren. Viele Privatmenschen wirken auch auf der ganzen Welt mit. Diese Teilnahme findet in der Gift Economy statt. Dieses Wirtschaftsmodel funktioniert ohne Geld und die sozialen Beziehungen hängen vom Handel in Diensten ab. Ein Dienst ruht nie. Wer ein Rat bekommt, engagiert sich ihn weiterzugeben.
FD: Kann die Gift Economy mit der neoliberalen Wirtschaft mitreden?
OV: Eigentlich tut sie das schon, in dem sie die neoliberale Wirtschaft bereichert. Internet ist zum Beispiel ein vernetzter Raum in dem die Gift Economy und die Marktwirtschaft sich insbesondere ergänzen: IBM macht Rechner mit Linux Systemen. Netscape hat den Mozilla Internetbrowser. Diese zwei Softwarelösungen werden von Open-source-kollektiven durch das Internet entwickelt und sind oft frei zum runterladen. Die Philosophie und Ethik der Gegenseitigkeit verärgert fette Firmen wieMicrosoft. Sie ist der Marktwirtschaft gegenüber komplementär, aber auch autonom. Mit einer Teilpartizipation der Leute kann man Projekte aufrechterhalten. Die Frage ist nur, wie man Projekte auf einer längeren Zeit, speziell wenn sie grösser werden, am Leben erhält. Fragen sie mich nicht nach der Antwort.
Links: Adbusters: www.adbusters.org Gift Economy: www.gift-economy.com Memefest: www.memefest.org The ABC: www.the-abc.org
Few weeks ago i returned from beautiful Iran.
Besides being impressed by the beautiful Country and the very friendly people of Iran, i was very impressed by Iranian design.
In particular i found the work of Reza Abedini very good.
Here is one of his Posters.
Twelve billboards placed in the very city center, smiled to the people of Berlin during the five weeks of THE ABC , semiotics of resistance conference /exhibition in Berlin, organized by Rebelart, Stickeraward and Memefest.
The bilboard project was made by Genauso und anders. You can read and see more about the whole action here.
More blogs about media actrivism.
(Photo: Oliver Vodeb's lecture titled "Memefest and the power of (socially) beneficial memes".)
Memefest's conference /exhibition was last weekend devoted to the International festival of radical communication. Oliver Vodeb's lecture and the following debate, which lasted till 7. in the morning accompanied by sounds of Dub music, were held in the beautiful Neurotitan Gallery in the middle of Berlin.
Exhibition of selected Memefest works, together with other art, could be seen for five weeks. This weekend THE ABC finishes with a big public discussion, so if you are in Berlin you are kindlly invited.
THE ABC conference exhibition which is a project organized by The rebel art media fundation, Stickeraward and Memefest, connected 26 academics, artists, activists and other communication and media experts and practitioners.
You can see more photos here, here, here, here and here.
Hey Friends! Apologies for the silence on the Memeblog in the past few weeks. Memefest team went on very much needed vacations- we're back now, full of new energy and ideas and are already working on them.
First, on Saturday 6.8. at the Neurotitan Gallery in Berlin i will give a speech titled "Memefest, the power of (Socially beneficial) Memes". After that this years Memefest Winners are gonna be presented and later at the Party celebrated.
This, as well as the exhibition of selected visual works from past Memefest's years is part of THE ABC-SEMIOTICS OF RESISTANCE Conference/Exhibition, which is organized by the Rebel art media fundation, Sticker award and Memefest.
Check out THE ABC' web site for more information about the Event and the 26 artists who are participating in the Exhibition, Night Communication Guerilla actions and Parties.
You are all very kindly invited!
See ya in Berlin, Oliver Vodeb
The two-day ending events of Memefest 2005 festival are over. You can view a short photogallery by clicking here.
Hey Friends! Memefest 2005 winners will be on line very soon. Hopefully today, if not then tomorrow morning. Cheers!
A few days left and Memefest will announce this years winners in all competition categories. A impressive amount of almost 500 works from 36 Countries arround the world has been submitted. Our stellar jury is completing their evaluation in this days.
The award ceremony will be held at "Menza pri koritu" in the alternative cultural center Metelkova in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday june 23rd at 20h.
After the awards will be announced, Croatian rock n' roll band "Electro buda", whose members used to play in the 90's legendary bands "Majke" and "Kojoti" will make us dance and smile.
You can hear a sample of one of their new songs here.
We will announce all the winners on friday june 24rd on this web site and other international media.
You are all kindly invited to join us at the award ceremony and concert. Entry for all festival participans is free of charge! So, there will be an opportunity to socialize, develop a debate and of course for everything unexpected in the field of your imagination in a traditionally relaxed, intimate environment.
On the 22 nd of June at 16:00 in Kinodvor, a well known Austrian philosopher Sebastian Reinfeldt will give a lecture titled "Place of theory" (Free entrance!). Those who will join the lecture will be able to see the movie "The Terrorist" later at 20:00 for just 500 SIT (2 EUR or 2,50 USD).
If you have any questions you can reach as AT memefest at memefest dot org or give us a call - 00 386 41 953695
Se you all!
Memefest's president Oliver Vodeb will present at the Incommunicado conference between 16th and 18th of June in Amsterdam at Balie. The international work conference will start mapping some of the faultlines of Info developement politics, and it will do so by engaging people from different info-political backgrounds in a collaborative exploration of concepts and strategies. Title of his lecture is: "Art and ICT4D. Networking for tactical education and public intervention a presentation of Memefest and the 2005 competition."
More info here.
PS: You can see all submitted works to Memefest 2005 on the Gallery menue at the right side menue bar. Results will be announced on June 23. at the award Ceremony in Ljubljana.
Gallery with all the works submitted to this years Memefest is now on line!
Click on the "Gallery" menue on the right side menue.
There are still some little things we are working on-so the gallery is not 100% finished yet.
If you have any problemms, please let us know- just write in the comments section of this blog post. Thanks!
We are happy to announce that Memefest 2005 received more than 450 works from 35 countries around the globe as a response to this festival outlines! The network of creative dissent and radical communication is growing bigger and stronger!
Now the very interesting part begins. In the next days, Memefest's board of experts will pre-select the works to be evaluated by our great international jury.
In the following week we will also publish the submitted works in our on-line gallery so you will be able to browse them to see what other people came up with.
Congratulations to everyone who has submitted and big thanks to everyone who helped make Memefest a big success again!
Results will be announced at the final award ceremony in Ljubljana on June 23rd and will be published on this web site and other international media. A special exhibition of best Memefest 2005 works will be presented in Berlin in August and Ljubljana in September.
Keep checking this space for news and updates about the evaluation process and other stuff.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us - memefest AT memefest dot org
All the best to you,
The Memefest International Team.
Dear Friends of Memefest,
With the May 20th deadline just 5 days away, we want to send you some words of encouragement and thanks.
This year’s Memefest is the biggest to date. The biggest amount of works yet to come, we’ve already received submissions from more than 20 countries, and we are proud of the continued dedication of our stellar jury, along with this year’s new additions to it.
You can only win by entering! It’s a great opportunity to “spice up” your resume, and to have your work available for online public viewing. All outstanding participants will receive personalized comments from our first-class jury. As an activist, artist or academic, that’s an excellent chance to get your work some relevant attention. Remember, there is no limit on the number of submissions. It’s not too late to submit something if you haven’t already. And it’s not too late to submit something else if you have.
Best of luck to each of you!
The Memefest 2005 team.
ISSUE: Presentation of TUNE IN! project
WHO: Memefest – international festival of radical communication and Radio Student, one of the oldest European urban independent non-commercial radio stations.
WHAT: Project TUNE IN! with which we appeal to all those genuine latitudinarian and freedom-loving heretics who secretly foster a sinful thought which states that things in the contemporary social arrangements are far from being indisputable, to cooperate.
WHY: Because, a) we believe that contemporary social arrangements are far from being perfect, b) we feel it is time for all of us to start to actively participate in the creation of the social environments we live in, c) we strongly believe in individual’s creativity and his or her capability of making critical judgments, and d) we are deeply unsatisfied with the way the mainstream media (do not) operate, namely with their ignorance of plain citizens’ opinions, and hence wish to offer an alternative possibility for communicating ideas.
HOW: Respond to the People’s Communication Charter theme! Now we invite you to participate in the social responsibility radio script search.
WHEN: Scripts for socially responsible radio jingles considering the PCC theme (against censorship, biased information, stereotyped media representations and for free communication channels etc.) can be submitted until 10th June 2005.
The entries will be carefully inspected by a professional jury (Tanja Gvozdenovic, Helena Zagar, Miha Zorz, Boris Vlajic, Jure Pozun). The winner’s script will be transformed at Radio Student’s studio into a radio jingle and made public via Radio Student’s programme and via both of our web pages www.memefest.org/tunein and www.radiostudent.si.
For more info click: www.memefest.org/tunein
We thank you for an announcement in your media!
BE CREATIVE, BE SOCIALLY CRITICAL AND BE HEARD!
TUNE IN! Organizers
A interview with Memefest founder Oliver Vodeb for the German independent radio station radio-z.net from Nürnberg, which is part of the community radio network freie-radios.net. (Interview is in German Language)
The meme is spreading. Photo of Memefest 2005 poster in Warshaw, the capitol of Poland.
Attention Memefest 05 participants!
As the first submissions begin to roll in, we notice that many in the Visual Arts category are not sticking anywhere close to guidelines set out this year, ie. to respond to the People's Communications Charter.
Thinking of submitting just any old subversive design experiment gathering dust in your hard drive? Don't bother. If your work does not respond to the challenge set out in the guidelines, it will not be evaluated. Take a bit of extra time to think about the Charter and create something original. It will then be evaluated by our international jury and receive all the attention it deserves.
For those who have already submitted, remember that you can submit more than one work. Therefore, you have additional chances to create submissions that are sure to be evaluated.
We can't wait to see what you come up with!
The Meme-Team 2005
Beautifull tactical media! Low budget posters made by Memefest Brasil.
Memefest 2005 Poster-made by Memeworks, radical communications collective.
(Last post -by Fernando Cuevas: 14.3.)
Dialogue in Progress is a series of dialogues between Oliver Vodeb and radical communicators from around the world. Starting with some questions and continuing with a free dialogue a new post will be available in this space cca. every 5 days. Feel free to put your own thoughts in the comment section. Thanks to Progress? Project for inspiration.
A dialogue between Fernando Cuevas and Oliver Vodeb.
I visited Manizales, Colombia to attend a new media conference some weeks ago. It was there that I met Fernando, and immediately established a very deep contact with him. Throughout the world, Colombia has become synonymous with its unique and tragic situation: drug production, economic dependence on the USA, and the violence resulting from both of these.
Fernando has dedicated the last seven years to photographing the most violent areas of Colombia, thus using that medium to show the world different aspects of violence.
Oliver: Fernando, in our previous email conversation, you told me that for you the most extreme violence is being extremely poor. Can you please tell us a bit more about the economic situation in the areas you are working?
Fernando: Dear Oliver, first i would like to describe a little bit the kind of communities i work with and also a little bit of my work with them, so i can develop at the end a bit more the relation i see between poverty and violence.
When i was finishing my university studies in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, i started working and visiting very poor communities in the south part of the city. With Ana Daza, my teacher at that time, we tried to analyse the natural communication networks, and the comunicating actions that communities used in their work, trying to make a better use of communication in all their actions and relations. Afterwards, some communities in Medellin, the capital of the department of Antioquia and a city inmerse a very deep violence spiral, invited us to help them developing communitary television programs. They where male and female teachers, policemen and plumbers who worked all day, badly paid and wasting huge amounts of time just going to work... and afterwards, at nights after eating just a plate of rice, or in their only hollidays or in any free time they could have, they would work for the community progress. This is also the kind of people i am working with now in Cali.
They are real people, not images of the news where they say »poor people« or »violent people« and show indians, color people, ugly and/or poor people. I see around me beatifoul people, happy, full of life...with the minimum to eat or wear, but real. They dont disappear when you change the channel or when you ignore them. The mayor difference between them and the rest of the world, is that almost everyone is thinking how to get thinner and eat less: Instead they are fighting like lions to get 3 meals a day for their families.
These conditions make them very fragil to influences of fashion and consumption. They see no message in the media that tells them they are part of the society, because everyone is white, rich, young, healthy...that's why many of them have upside down priorities of investment : First new shoes, or a DVD, then better food or getting proteins in theyr meals. After 7 years of seeing and analyzing I do beleieve there is a great sense of violence in poverty. But the kind of violence i am talking of is not the one mobilized through guns. In the first years i worked with them i saw it but i didnt live it. Now in Cali i am living in a nearby barrio, with very poor conditions, and things are even more evident. There is a deeper, wider and almost invisible violence involved in many actions of the market (i speak mainly of the colombian society, but i am sure there is not much difference in other countries...even if they are much more developed) and poor communities know no ways of defending themselves because they think that richness comes from spending more, and that social acceptation is assured by market signs such as clothing, tennis shoes or hairstyles.
I am no economist, but i can see, and i can feel how great sectors of these society are rejected, not even by money because some of them have money (much more than i have), but are rejected beacuse the place they live in or the way they speak, or the clothes they wear, or even inside the same community they segregate people who have houses with brick walls or wood walls. Sometimes they have the money to get some »acceptance signs« but they cant acces to goods of quality, it is amazing but food and clothing usually are more expensive here than in other parts of the city. And you dont find any variety so you have to buy it there or spend more money or more time going to other parts.
When i show my pictures or when i explain the kind of work i do with communities, people with a resolved economic situation react in 2 ways: Or they fell bad, and they start to think about »that people« and how hard it must be for »them« to live in those conditions... starting to make them even more poor by treating them like »different« or »second best« humans. There is another group that starts to attack them asking why do they have so many children or why do they have to be so dirty or so caothic...these group also makes them even more poor by thinking they like to be poor.
Someone really believes anyone likes to be hungry? Or likes to have a low quaility of life although they work hard 7 days a week?
Almost noone thinks about poverty as a complex group of causes, most of them uncontrollable for these groups; causes that affect them directly and make realtions with themselves and with the rest of the society very dense and unfear.
Oliver:Dear Fernando, It's incredible how the economic sistem makes poor people poorer and rich people richer. The spatial aspect of the ghetoisation that you are talking about could mainly be ovecomed with media, but almost all there seems to be, is corporate commercial media and advertising that on a mental, and than also structural level, as you said, excludes people from the society they naturally want to be part of. The problem is also the lack of internet access and education in genneral i think. However, you mentioned a community Tv station for this poor areas, which sounds great. Is there any other media like radio stations or selfpublishing zines in this communities? Can you please describe the community TV station a bit? The difference from corporate media spectacle and this smaller "do it your self media" is also the level of intimacy and authentycy of communication- which then of course works on a totally different psychological level. It includes instead of excludes. And very important it talkes about local issues, even local neighbourhood issues which are important for the people who live. What would be or what are the concrete difficulties in implementing such comunity media in this areas?
Fernando:A few years ago there used to be a growing movement of communitary tv stations and radio stations in colombia, but the governement started regulating them(trying to"help") and only a few survived...also many where bought by middle or big commercial companies who joined them to their networks. Now most of them face economic and technical problems: Tv stations are rare but the communitary radio sistem still exists. Some communities still organize semiindependent media but usually dont survive longer due to the same problems and to the political or social changes of each community because usually they start as an arm of the communitary political and/or social organization.
The biggest problems for the creation of such media are will and organization of the community rooted in the lack of comprehetion and understanding the utility of them, but also when they start broadcasting many technical problems arise and starts affecting theyr emissions...obviously even though they touch communitary issues and local social problems they have a great disadvantage: competing with hbo,tnt and all the tens or hundreds of private commercial channels who have excellent technical conditions of transmision filled with stupidity and messages of consumption.
Besides of all that i do believe in the power of communitary media and i have seen how it can congregate and help a communty...i remember a few examples of excelent technical quality and great content but that where affected by the conflict situation lived in some barriosm, specificly in Medellin. Are examples of communitary media in Slovenia Oliver? Do you know of some experiences you can relate so we can compare a little bit?
Oliver: Dear Fernando: Slovenia where iam living does not have such big cities and therfore no such big slums as there are in Colombia. There are of course ghetto like areas, with poor people, though the poverty level here is probablly not so drastic - at least from what i have seen from your pictures. There is also another factor-that here in Slovenia the economic standard is high enough and together with what we see in the media one can get the impression that people in genneral are living a good life- though officially more than 10% of the employed people! earn in one month a sallary which is considered below the poverty line. 10% of the employed people means much more than 10% of the people , because this people do have families. As for community media: there is some independent community media being produced-mainly in the students sphere. There are some magazines and some zines- but as you dscirbed the situation - they don't last for long. We also have two independend student radios,(they do get money from the state) one in Ljubljana-the capitol and one in Maribor-the second biggest city. I would consider them "alternative", but not really radical-because they do not manage to mobilize a community and to establish a coherent group of active people. It's difficult though to do this, because the neoliberal capitalist system works towards a psychological profile of individualist and egoist people. The rush for economic success here is very big and is getting bigger and bigger. One can see this even by talking to 15 year old kids or even younger kids. All that mattters is what brand one wears and what kind of mobile phone one uses...
To get back to your question- for exmpl: i am writing a web log for a year and a half on the Slovenian part of memefest.org and though a lot of people are reading it, because people know about memefest, not really a lot of people are commenting and engaging in a discussion on a regular basis. The same here with our dialogue where people from more than 50 countries are reading it... It's hard to get people activelly engaged in a common couse- i think that's because people are not used anymore to work towards a common goal, towards a public good- mainly because the pubic sphere of communication is being colonized by private interrests. And as we know market communication- the communication which has colonized the public sphere does raise people in a manner of self-interest, of private interest. People who are living is such a environment for their whole lives or for a certain period of time are getting a specific mindset. I can see this with my students at the design departement- the notion of society and common good is quite hard to imagine for a lot of students.
There is one thing that iam wandering about for a long time- I think Slovenia and a lot of developed countries are in a possition where the economic standard is just high enough- or if you want low enough, that people have troubles to organize and work together for a wider change. Sometimes i am wondering if a society has to reach a certain level of poverty (be it economic or cultural of social) in order to reach a point where people say : ok-that's enough-let's do something about it... What do you think?
Fernando: Amigo Oliver: As you say, in commercial media lies a constant invitation to economic success: to consume in order to be recognized or to disappear. I think that is a global trend, and it’s as big as the spectrum of the corporate media. This latent message guides people to think only in their personal consumption needs, and lets them know no other options of recognition. I think that is why many people don’t understand the concept of society beyond jet set (high society). This giant message, with thousand faces, meets with the aspect you point. Poverty, understood as the lack of goods, is, in many cases, a condition which helps to join people, and, in a way, obligates people to work together. That is true. But it is also true that just after they have satisfied collectively there basic needs (water and energy supply for example), there is a very high probability that they would start fighting only for themselves, at least in the cases I know. Why is that? Which messages are they getting that tells them their full development could only come from individual work in order to get enough money to buy things or goods? Why do we have separate options for social and personal development? Couldn’t it be because we have no other referent regarding development, different than to buy and consume in order to be accepted in society? Couldn’t it be that communitarian participation finds it’s limits in that giant multiple message: to consume or be ignored, to consume or to be excluded from the society you want to belong. Now, I have also seen poverty bring people apart. Specially extreme poverty, in which every other human being is a competitor for food. Obviously not only lack of goods brings people together. Many economists make a difference between forms of richness as forms of capital. I’d like to differentiate two kinds of capital: Financial or artificial capital, and social capital. The first one is related to money and tangible goods. The second one refers to cooperation, trust and integration capacity. When you find lack of goods and lack of social capital you have no hope of getting people to participate in finding a collective solution for their needs. When you find high levels of financial capital (lots of goods and money) people don’t tend to have any interest in collective action. I think that between these two extremes lies the path communication has to walk in order to meet people’s needs, recognizing richness in poverty through social capital and having an active roll in society building, beyond that big unique message. In my work, analyzing communication needs, I started to develop a model in which any source can design and think a message, learning from advertising, persuading people to work together. Persuasion, completely separated from commercial goals, involved in a communication strategy, could be a possibility to mobilize people towards a common goal.
Oliver: That's very interresting! Personally i think social communication - communication that establishes dialogue or conditions for dialogue is always a process. It never stops. Once it stops it's dead. And one needs people to constantlly "collaborate" in this process. I agree, that people usually tend to become egoistic once thir basic needs are fulfilled. Guess when people are raised in a environment of commercial media which establishes a specific mindset, it's hard to change it.This is social knowledge that has been produced over years and years. This is social reality. What we need are new communication chanels and practices on a more constant level. We need intimate communication instead if spectacle. We need access and participation. On a press conference on Manizales there was a publisher of a newspaper who asked me how can he make a more socially oreintated newspaper if all he has to do is to survive in the market and in order to survive he must speake in the commercial discourse. I answered that we should not look in terms of black and white sollutions and we should think about small steps. Which are actually not small. I suggested him to start a black and white local even if only for hes neighbourhood -zine. Low cost , but with local participation and open for everyone who wants do distribute it. Iam sure such a simple to produce and easy to distribute medium whould work also towards establishing a new qualitiy and level of social capital in that particular neighbourhood. Can you tell us a bit more in detail about your work that you were talking about in the end of your last post?
Fernando: For years, people with a critique point of view towards commercial expansion, attacked advertising as a weapon in the war against individuality. I think all the attacks are justified, but I also think we can learn a lot from advertising in order to improve our communication strategies in all levels; communitarian, social or massive.
There is no other communication process like advertising: so exact, precise, designed, accurate, predictable and effective. The huge problem is that it is used to sell soap or soup, but it can be used to generate consciousness, and generate positive attitudes. I think also, the role of communication in the creation and functioning of social capital has been underestimated and poorly evaluated.
Lets be very clear: we are not going to sale anything and we are not trying to use commercial or marketing techniques in order to sell a way of behaviour.
What I propose is that we analyse the advertising communication process and see that persuasion is a concept far more complex that we have thought.
Persuasion is not pressure.
Persuasion is not a one way action.
It’s a resource for people to collaborate with each other conforming their own idea of reality. Not accepting one but creating one, giving impulse to peoples autonomy, and will to improve aspects their life.
The relation between persuasion and social capital is also highly effective and close. When you find a way to identify, congregate and multiply social capital, you are starting a cycle that is very dynamic and that can generate a whole new process of mobilization each time.
It changes both extremes of the process: those who emit have to use and adapt his logic of thought in order to make reasonable the acceptance of the content of the message and to fulfil the objective of the whole process; the receptor who has also to understand the complexity of the message and his relation with the emissary.
Another positive aspect is, that to achieve this, we have to support the education of receptors and the ones who emit, and this always is positive because with this type of education they can be also prepared to analyse the huge amount of other types of communication objectives that we are attacked with each day.
Oliver: Dear Amigo: Personally i think that media and communication has it's greatest power in building social relations. I am not sure if i understand right what you are saying, so let's discuss this more. Is persuasion pressure? Depends on how you define pressure i guess, but if actions are being taken as a result of persuasion , actions that are not a result of self-conscious thought and decision, than i would say that this is pressure.
But here we get to a sticky ground. When is someone able to make a self-conscious decision? I guess education plays a big role. And i would say that persuasion in the classic meaning of the word is often necessary in order to get someone educated. But i think it's necessary to be aware of the process aspect of this communication. The educator –communicator authority has to selfdeconstuct in time in order to give room to the other and stop being persuasive.
I do agree that persuasion does not have to be one way action. People are definitely »collaborating« to make the neoliberal slavery even more powerful in some aspects. But i am not really sure i do understand what do you mean that people in this persuasive process are collaborating and establishing more and more social capital. And also what kind of social capital do you have in mind?
Fernando Cuevas: All communication processes imply pressure in different levels, due to the necessity of a direction in the meaning interchange thru any media. Even in those cases when the roles of one that emits an one who receives alternate, the direction and it’s pressure can be revealed.
Now, in the Persuasion approach, pressure not necessarily means that the receptors are limited in their self-conscience, or in their capacity to make decisions. Even in dominant messages used in authoritarian regimes with huge amounts of pressure (remember Orwell’s 1984) there is a window for thinking processes.
Persuasion with it’s natural amount of pressure, is an approach of communication based on collective construction of signification that uses one of those windows, and doing so, reduces domesticating pressure.
As any advertiser would confirm, observing human action is the source of many commercial messages. Even in those cases, messages built to persuade compel the one who emits, to think as the one who will receive. Following, the receptor may act reproducing what he wants, was told to do, supposed to do, or allowed to do.
Every time we forget our role in the effectiveness of publicity we renounce to self- conscience based decisions. We increase self-conscience not only by education (which gives us very good bases for reflection), but also by making re-significations of ourselves and our social, physical and natural conditions and environment.
Eventually this can be done in a classical education atmosphere, but I prefer alternative ambiences. Patricia’s idea (Patricia Niño commentary in this section –Thank you a lot by the way Patricia-) has been one of my long-term practices. As I said before, I once participated in the design and application of a methodology that brings to light communication processes and message building networks in communities. This allowed people to construct mew messages and use effectively different media; and made me concentrate in educational processes directed to improve people’s abilities to make communitarian television.
During the second semester of 2004, and until February 28, I developed a less expensive education process than television making, concentrated in photography as a communication tool for self consciousness, inserted in social process. This methodology uses a persuasion approach to integrate people, starting by the first interested in making images.
We used the cheapest cameras on the market: tetra packs and cookie boxes. The group we created was conformed by electricians, maids, communitarian leaders, adolescent and old people…all working together learning from each other. Why where they involved in this task after working 8 hours in a factory or cleaning floors? They heard that pictures could be taken with milk boxes, and they came with curiosity but they where persuaded with only an idea: making images.
I attach to this message an example of re-signification of the social environment. Carlos, the author of these pictures, never finished basic school.
Photos can be viewed here and here and here.
He wanted to study something technical but his boss never let him change his schedules of work with other electricians of the factory. He is a very curious and precise man, father of 3 kids, husband of Blanca who works 10 hours attending a shop they created in their living room. The pictures you see where made under the question: take a picture of what you want to show to others. His living room, his patio, his motorcycle. Common places gained a new meaning by being observed by the group of neighbours, and are now inviting you to make them real by watching them. This one to one contact reinforces comunitarian integration, the basic element of social capital. In the future when this images circulate through different territorial levels (barrio-city-country-world) will communicate directly new messages that can start to fight social exclusion, and attack the idea that material poverty is also poverty of will.
Oliver: Dear amigo, i now understand what you mean when you talk about persuasion being integrated in community, democratic, dialogic communication processes. That's exactly why i argue that responsibility comes from the fact that communication in general, especially when used with a purpose of achieving a certain effect has to take responsibility.
I think that the position of communicators (actively or passively) participating in communication is almost never (in terms of power) equal in the beginning of the communication process. This is for various different reasons: level of education, knowledge about how to use different media, intentions of people communicating, different social and cultural backgrounds etc.
If the goal of communication is emancipation, empowerment, self-reflection, building communities… than the ultimate goal should be to distribute power more equally, which is not equally distributed in the beginning of the process. Persuasion can be a tool to achieve this goal, but it is important that the authority of the persuader is being (self) deconstructed in the process of communication. I have talked about this earlier…
Communication that works towards (self) empowerment, emancipation and critical reflection is always tightly connected with the social and cultural conditions. What i have found out in my research is that the social and cultural dimensions are almost never built-in in the communications approaches by the majority of communicators. Be it commercial or non-commercial communicators. This has several reasons, mainly because of the isolated and self-referential logic of market economy, the problems of simulacra like Baudrilliard described them and the fetish of the image- the visual- this is especially a problem with designers and design in general.
Since we are talking about communication for and by the in different ways oppressed people, it seems natural that improving social and cultural conditions among others should be from beginning part of the communication approach. I like to call these types of communication »socially responsive communication«. Once people take the power of communication and you have described beautiful and powerful approaches on how to do this with people in very hard conditions, our environment and our perception of it start slowly to change. The thing with advertising for example is that it does not include actively the state of culture and society in its communication approach, which is bizarre if one thinks about the fact that they are communication in the spheres of cultural and social capital.
I also say that that the majority of advertisers are not aware of the effects, of the cultural and social applications and therefore of all dimensions of the communication they are producing.
The interesting point for me and I’d like to conclude with this, is the questions how can “educated” communicators (people who are getting more and more educated during the process of socially responsive communication) use the re-signification practices that you have described, in order to achieve the best possible reflection of their own position-first: in order to be able to practice socially responsive communication without being caught in the institutional limits of the (communication) environment in which they are structurally “embedded”? And secondly: in order to permanently self-deconstruct their own position of authority towards their own audience?
Oliver Vodeb has recently returned from a new media/visual arts conference in Colombia, South America titled "The language of new media" , where he spoke about radical communication, media democracy, emancipation through communication and Memefest. The south American audience’s response was extremely positive, which shows that there is a huge need for radical communications knowledge in Latin America. Memefest is planning to open up a South American branch, with headquarters in Manizales, Colombia and Sao Paulo, Brazil, and its own web site in Spanish and Portuguese by the beginning of 2005! We are already working hard on the Memefest 2005 Concept and Festival. We are looking for radical communicators that will participate in Memefest's networks and spread the meme! If you’ve got good ideas, and would like to collaborate, send us an email! Keep on checking this space for news updates.
Founded in 2002, Memefest is an international, semi-virtual festival that encourages students, academics, artists and activists to interrogate the commercialization of everyday life. It studies ideas, and their dissemination and impact while bringing together people from all over the field of communications. It represents a mechanism for critical analysis of, and critical reflection upon, communication, as well as a medium for generating innovative communication concepts and practices.
In just three short years, the number of participants has grown enormously. Submissions now come in from every continent on the globe, and in 2004, Memefest welcomed close to 400 entries from 36 different countries, having thus become an important and internationally recognized event in the world of communication.
In honour of Memefest's success and its most piercing authors, we exhibited selected works from the first three Festival years.
To accompany the exhibition in the Interart gallery in Ljubljana, we also printed a special booklet with selected static visual works and summaries of award-winning texts from the fields of sociology and communication science.
The booklet was designed by Memeworks , the radical communications collective and can be downloaded here.
Photos from the opening day and night of the exhibition in the Interart gallery in the beautifull old part of the city Ljubljana, Slovenia can be found here. Time of exhibition: 23.9-30.10.2004
Winners of Memefet 2004 can be found here.
News about Memefest 2005 are comming soon. Keep on checking this space.