Festival Community
This website is using cookies to. By clicking 'OK', you agree with our cookie policy. More about this.


This is good. The first serious investigation of Debt in the field of communication. It is hard to overstate the importance of such a collective project. Debt is the primary instrument our capitalist world is organised around, the most powerful instrument of colonisation, slavery and economic warfare. But the debtor / creditor relation is also a fundamental social relation, deeply internalised through our everyday practice.

If the fields of communication, design and art want to be relevant they have to understand what Debt is and what it does and how it is related to communication.

There is a momentum, a flow and a movement happening right now -globally- an idea whose time has come. The idea whose time has come is mainly about three things. First: interventions that create a rupture in the order of things with the goal to redefine our fields of experience and the relationship between being, doing and saying. Second: dialogue. Third: creating new emancipatory social institutions.

There is a wealth of communication design works, visual, conceptual and good theoretical reflections on debt submitted to Memefest. We received works form thirty-five countries, very diverse environments. This is a lot and encouraging because our process not only works as an educational intervention, it creates quality criteria on what is good communication and it is also a research mechanism that enables us to understand the relations between communication/design/media/art/theory/practice and the current (indebted) world.

It is impossible to provide a deeper reflection on the submissions now that goes beyond particular single works. We need more time for that. And as always our analyses will follow.

There are few things to say now though. Reflections on Debt were not easy. We are in the middle of this gigantic tsunami that is highly abstracted, deeply internalised and naturalised. Although the effects of Debt are widely visible, it seems picturing what is the essence of debt is very difficult.

As always we received works from artists, professionals, students and activists.
Memefest collaborates with several universities and our outlines are part of official curriculum's. (I was in a double role- working with my students in class on this) A very valuable comment comes from curator Roderick Grant. As he stated in one of our email conversations: “I've noted in some cases this year that the festival has a real split in submissions...students are entering work that very much feels like a submission to meet certain objectives in a studio or course, rather than a deeply felt set of convictions that they are answering to as designers and citizens. For me, this served as a reminder that studios do not function in a vacuum, and while we might put such learning outcomes in a 'critical design studio' or a 'social justice information design project', its not the formal outcomes we should be after, its the change in affect, in attitude and behaviour that should guide our actions as educators.” I very much agree and this, I think, is on spot and says a lot about our university programs, which arguably are less and less capable of educating students to become intellectuals in the field of communication. Still there are quite some good projects that have been submitted by students and traditionally good stuff comes from outside of the university.

If Debt was the theme for visual communication practice and critical writing, Beyond…, our third category is about participatory art and communication. Our ambition here is extremely high. As you can read in the Beyond… outlines, ideally –although not mandatory- we are aiming towards extradisciplinary investigation. It is in the Beyond...category where art meets communication, design and speculation where usually highly interesting, surprising and relevant works get created.

Clearly this years outlines were inspired by Occupy. Characterised by a new culture of participation, Occupy developed new and incredibly strong publics and it’s exactly here, were Occupy’s potential for the future lies. #Occupy has found a new momentum and is working hard to articulate new visions of “the public” in the: “new hybridised logic of public space that is local, translocal, situated, embodied, and mediated and networked at the same time, … (where they create) a continuous nomadic movement that links up a bewildering variety of places, contexts, movements and non-movements, individuals, groups, cultures, collectives and singularities.”1 Here we wanted to push the limits further in Beyond… however as with Debt and communication, this is new in the moment and maybe in some ways a bit before time?

Curating and editing this year’s submission was a tough job and a big warm thank you goes to everyone who has contributed in this process!! Feedback given on works is very strong and plays a essential role in nurturing a culture of communication that goes beyond the ideology of the market. The dialogic nature of our evaluation process is designed to create the potential of going beyond the image and towards communication. Here our curatorial and editorial board: http://www.memefest.org/en/competition/curators/

Results for traditional categories are here. Our special Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention given in collaboration with the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane will be announced August 10th. We will invite and fly in one author from each category to Brisbane, Australia, to participate in an extradisciplinary workshop for a critical intervention in to the public space in Brisbane.

Congratulations to everyone who participated, and especially the ones who ranked among the best!

Now it’s time to open the forum to the public. Have a look at the best works here: http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2012/

Read Memefest’s official feedback on them and let us know about your perspective.

This is a great and important Festival year. We are investigating crucial things. A lot has been done and it is inspiring to see how many people from around the world are now already involved in the process of developing Socially responsive communication and art. We are now ten years young, and this is only the beginning.

With love, conflict and imagination, Oliver- Memefest Kolektiv


1 Erik Kluitenberg, (2011) Legacies of Tactical Media, 51


To comment, please create a Memefest account, it will take you only 2 minutes!
Login here if you already have one.


Hey, welcome to the official Memefest blog!

Since 2003 we have been using a blog platform as tactical media to reflect, critique, comment and inform around the broad field of communication. Now in 2010 with our newly conceived on-line platform we hope that through time this space will evolve in a collaborative blog media with a wider group of contributors to the global discourse around social responsibility of media and communication. Stuff that you can find here is either original or carefully and originally edited from other sources.  There is a good chance that you will find things that will be of good use for you too if you follow us more regularly.

Of course we look at Memeblog as a dialogic platform. Your comments are encouraged and mostly welcome.

If you feel like collaborating in this: drop us a line: memefest at memefest dot org.