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New Book Series and Call for Contributions to New Memefest Book: Food Democracy

We are very excited to announce the new partnership between Memefest and Intellect Books UK, Publishers of Original Thinking! http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/

The new book series titled "Socially Responsive Communication/Design and Art: Memefest Interventions" will be focusing on further exploring critical and urgent contemporary themes addressed by Memefest through its unique extradisciplinary approach to public communication/design and art and related research, practice and education. It will be distributed globally through University of Chicago Press.

It will continue Memefest’s tradition of critical independent thought and practice and of connecting different cultures of knowledge production- especially academic, activist and professional. In the times of radical commercial avant-gardes, university corporatism and the increasing penetration of self centred design with good intentions into everyday life and more than boring art, the profile of people close to our ideas might be described as theorists punks, activists, artists for social and environmental change, curious researchers and practical intellectuals.

The series will mainly draw work from Memefest’s international network of engaged thinkers and practitioners. Especially curated and edited works submitted to Memefest Festivals’ Friendly Competition process along with additional work will be published. The series will feature works of critical writing, visual communication practice and (participatory) art and will put special emphasis on the relations between theoretical practice and making of communication/design and art.

Disciplinary boundaries will be pushed, critique and imagination explored, foundations rethought, ideologies debunked and an alternative scene further developed. The culture we want to nurture is highly collaborative through joint thinking, making and significant conversations.

Principal editor/ curator of the series is Oliver Vodeb.

The first book in the series is going to be Food Democracy, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication/Design, Art and Theoretical Practice.

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS for the book FOOD DEMOCRACY, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication/Design, Art and Theoretical Practice.


We are inviting you to submit essays/papers/ texts, which will be published as book chapters for the book Food Democracy, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication/Design, Art and Theoretical Practice.

Contributions should be submitted in two stages:

1. Please submit an abstract not shorter than 400 words together with information about yourself until February 28, 2015. If you are submitting a visual text send us few samples and a rationale.

Selected authors will be informed until March 5, 2015 and invited to submit full text.

2. Invited authors will need to submit full text until June 10 2015.

Send all materials to fooddemocracy@memefest.org

Format: The format is very open. We welcome academic texts as well as essays. We also welcome visual essays or more experimental forms of writing/ storytelling. Our main interest lies in the strength of the argument in relation to the conceptual outlines of the book, originality, innovation and contribution to knowledge of Socially Responsive Communication/ Design & Art.

Length: 5000-6500 words not including references and abstract. If you are submitting a visual text keep it up to max 15 pages.

Conceptual outlines of the book:

In the era of privatisation of everything, basic human needs get colonised through corporate strategies. The food system- production, distribution, representation and consumption of food- becomes a machine, which excludes people from participation.

Big corporations are putting exclusive copyrights on seeds- the very source of life. Seeds as public knowledge bank were cultivated through centuries in a close relation between human and nature.

Predictions show that because of unsustainable commercial farming the amount of food produced at the end of the century will be 50% of what we produce now.
Currently more than 30 % of food is thrown away right away after harvest just because it does not look in a particular way and 200 000 people could be fed for a year just with the food that is thrown away by European airlines in one year. As world population numbers are rising, food will become the biggest issue of survival and geopolitical dominance very, very soon.

The consumption is to a big degree preconditioned as well. Our desires to achieve pleasure with food are in many ways the product of the prevailing food related libidinal economy- the way society organises desire. Food is designed with great effort and so are its representations.

With the strategic use of sugar, salt and fat, food is having the chemical effect of drugs. But addictive relations to food are designed by advertising too- in many cases food advertising even promotes behavioural patterns, which resemble to illicit drug cultures and food itself is more and more being designed to be a drug-delivering device.

Neoliberal society is strictly regulated and heavily over coded. We have troubles to leave our private self and create a distance to social mechanisms that impose this private position in the first place. But this is crucial. In this times it is crucial to occupy a common, public space, to create intimacy of relations that form around public matters in order to break out of the simulacrum of imposed pleasure. Respect- collaboration- imagination- intervention.

So what can Communication/Design and Art do in order to contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY?

In realising that FOOD DEMOCRACY is about a shared fate, shared resources, shared risks and shared solutions, creating publics, nurturing the commons through involved, inclusive and dialogic communication is at the core of socially responsive strategies and in opposition to the exclusionary short term profit goal approaches of marketing. But our semiotic landscape, the ecology of the image, the technologies of communications, the credibility of art, are all changing rapidly. How can we respond and gain autonomy through communication/design and art today? How can we contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY and what are the specifics of socially responsive communication/design and art in relation to it?

The contradictions of inequitable arrangements of power and the rhetoric of liberal democracies are at hand, but we need to make them visible. Making them visible is more than an image. It is a social relation- one that above all is not mediated by the image of imposed pleasure and desire, one that leaves the image behind in an engaged conversation and unfolds in communicative action. FOOD DEMOCRACY will be key for our survival in the future. No less than that.

We are excited to receive your contributions and are looking forward to collaborate with you!

* If you have any questions send us an email to: fooddemocracy@memefest.org

** You might be interested in our book InDEBTed to Intervene, check it out here: http://www.memefest.org/en/indebtedtointervene/


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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.

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