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New Book: InDEBTed to Intervene

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We are very excited to let you know about our new book. We have been working on it for more than a year and the book is as beautifull and strong in any way as was the adventure in to researching debt and making it.

The book is an investigation in to Debt as the key instrument that defines current social relations- through the lens of communication, design and art. It is both- theory and practice and a result of our extradisciplinary approach to research.

InDEBTed to Intervene, Critical Lessons in Debt, Communication, Art and Theoretical Practice is out now.

Check this link and read the table of contents, the introduction to the book and see more photos of the book too. You can also order the book here through PayPal.

http://www.memefest.org/en/indebtedtointervene/

We will hold a number of talks and discussions in the comming months starting in Slovenia and Australia. Check this space for updates on this. Also, please spread the word. It would be really good to get the book in as many hands as possible.

A Fruit that Asked Questions

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Food is a social medium. Michael Rakowitz explores in this beautiful project exactly this dimension. As a medium food can carry a story and it can raise questions. Food has symbolic meaning and it creates meaning in situations. It can serve as a tool for intervention and it can have explicit political connotations. It does create new relations and it can question established ones.

My friend Alana Hunt sent me this project a while ago. The more I think of it the more powerful it seems to me. Have a look at it here:

http://michaelrakowitz.com/projects/return/

Memefest 013 Festival Outlines: FOOD DEMOCRACY!

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In the era of privatisation of everything fundamental human needs get colonised through corporate strategies. The food system becomes a machine, which excludes people. We have almost no chance to participate in the production and distribution of food. The consumption is to a big degree predefined 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 and so are its representations. Here again, we are not only excluded but manipulated to form a specific relation to food.

Big corporations are putting exclusive copy rights on seeds- the very source of life, a public knowledge bank as seeds were cultivated through centuries in a close relation between human and nature. Predictions show that the amount of food produced at the end of the century will be 50% of what we produce now. As world population numbers are rising, food will become the biggest issue of survival and geopolitical dominance very, very soon.

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 the age of privatisation of everything, occupying a common space, creating an intimacy of relations that form around public matters is key to break out of the simulacrum of imposed pleasure. Respect- collaboration- imagination- intervention.

So what can Communication 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 delusions 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 and art today? How can we contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY and what are the specifics of socially responsive communication 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.

Do respond to our call in the Memefest 2013 Friendly Competition. This years theme is FOOD DEMOCRACY!
See here for the outlines: www.memefest.org/en/competition/intro/

You can participate in the categories Visual Communication practice, critical writing and a special participatory Art/Communication category is open as well!

Deadline for your submissions is May 20th. Participation is free of charge and there is no age limit or any other restriction. We will post more soon. For now it is your turn.

With Love, Conflict and Imagination,
Oliver-Memefest Kolektiv




Re-Imagining DEBT: An Intimate Encounter

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We are happy to announce the framework for this years special Memefest workshop. A few more weeks to go and we will meet in Brisbane.
Bellow you can find information regarding the event. More will follow soon.

GOALS: The workshop/seminar aims to research DEBT and its hidden effects in current Brisbane. It seeks to create a process that will help us to develop knowledge necessary to understand possibilities for imaginative critical interventions. As reality resists knowledge, intervention is necessary.

Our goal is also to contribute to the development of a local scene engaged in critical theory and practice, reflecting public effects of communication/design, art and education, connecting the university with bold non-institutionalised counter cultures and initiatives.

The event is part of the first Memefest/ Queensland College of Art Award for Imaginative, Critical intervention and was initiated by the collaboration of Memefest- International Festival of Socially Responsive Communication and Art, the Design department and the postgraduate research office at QCA.

FORMAT: The attendance is by invitation. The ten-day event will be based in Brisbane at the Queensland College of Art and will happen between November 15th and November 25th. Mentors facilitate the workshop part; groups with 5-7 participants will be formed. The seminar, in the first two days, will frame the problem and research field. Daily sessions of collaborative group work will be held from 10h am-16h pm, with one hour break. Longer work is of course possible. Workshop will include a day trip around Brisbane and work on various locations related to DEBT. An online pre preparation will include individual preliminary research. During workshop QCA production facilities will be used. Workshop(S) will be documented. A publication, which will include workshop process and results, is planned in early 2013. Outcomes will also be published on www.memefest.org and www.designfutures.com.au after the workshop.

CONCEPT: Debt has become a major instrument of social control. Millions are enslaved through debt, and indebted life has become naturalised. Debt has become the primary mechanism that takes power from the people and gives it on to the hands of the rich and powerful. But debt is rarely questioned. Its moral obligation is culturally embedded. It is shaming and therefore unspeakable. Its power lies in its violent normalcy.

If public communication design and art are to play a relevant role in shaping a future worth having, we need to further redirect, reinvent and reimagine our own understanding and the way we think, theorise and practice them both. DEBT is not only an opportunity to do so, but also an urgent responsibility.

Through Memefest’s process DEBT was researched in and outside of the University environments in thirty-five countries. It was the first serious investigation on DEBT from a communication perspective.

The workshop/seminar will be the next step. The face-to-face gathering, the extradisciplinary dimension that brings marginal, critical, countercultural positions in relation with established institutions promises an intense process. This time we will focus on one place- the city of Brisbane. As Queensland’s capital and the third biggest city in Australia, Brisbane plays a major role in the region’s economy. While DEBT is a technique through which individual and collective subjectivities are governed and controlled, its image is officially related to freedom and progress. The workshop will explore these contradictions and ways to expose them in the public sphere.

While most interventions end up in aestheticized gesturalism, what we are interested in, is stepping out of the private self in which persons are formally enclosed and a split from the social order that imposed that particular type of position in the first place.

We believe that four main steps are necessary to achieve a change in the logic DEBT creates. First: knowledge that acquires agency. Second: 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. Third: dialogue. Fourth: creating new emancipatory social institutions.

Let’s see how far we can get this time.

See you all soon!



Memefest 012 Festival Outlines: DEBT

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You can’t evict an idea whose time has come!

These words express the nature of the current global movement against the rule of money over life. They belong to the people, the 99%, who are bringing the fundamental urgent issues to the streets, into the media, into the realm of public consciousness, into the schools, universities, jobs, homes and intimate discussions and relationships.

These words also express something else. They speak about a state of mind, a focus and a concise articulation of the problem. 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.

If communication and art are to play a relevant role in shaping a future worth having, we need to further redirect, reinvent and reimagine our own understanding and the way we think, theorise and practice them both. Debt is not only an opportunity to do so, but also an urgent responsibility.

Millions are enslaved through debt, and indebted life has become naturalised. Debt has become the primary mechanism that takes power from the people and gives it on to the hands of the 1%. But debt is rarely questioned. Its moral obligation is culturally embedded. It is shaming and therefore unspeakable. Its power lies in its violent normalcy.

Taking a step back and look at the global Occupy movement from a distance it is clear that we need to learn more. We need to create strategies for understanding and ways of learning that go beyond the institutional, cultural and pragmatic boundaries of professions and fields of knowledge. This process is already happening with great intensity around the world. We have been contributing to this processes for many years and this year we are going even stronger.

Do respond to our call in the Memefest 2012 Friendly Competition. This years theme is DEBT. See here for the outlines: www.memefest.org/en/competition/intro/

You can participate in the categories Visual Communication practice, critical writing and a special participatory Art/Communication category is open as well!

Deadline for your submissions is May 20th. Participation is free of charge and there is no age limit or any other restriction. We will post more soon. For now it is your turn.


With Love, Conflict and Imagination,
Oliver-Memefest Kolektiv

Happy New Year 2012!

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Just got an email with this wonderful Snowmen by the fantastic Milan Erič. His humor and playful work always make me happy. In the name of the whole Memefest collective I wish you all the best in the next year. Let's continue the good work.

Pepper Spraying Cop Lt. John Pike

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Few days ago, students in solidarity with the worldwide Occupy movement peacefully protested at University California Davis. What happened became news around the world. It showed the nature of a big part of the corporate University systen through the naked violence that was employed that very day on campus. It showed how far a University system can go to preserve it's corporate status quo. It showed how far this "educational" places are away from being educational. I had to look at the video several times to actually believe what I saw.

A few days later images with the cop that had pepper sprayed peaceful students in the face appeared on the internet and a new web site project dedicated to the cop went online.

http://peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com/

Before browsing through the images have a look at the video above.
Here you can also get more context and sigh a petition against the head of UC Davis, who ordered the police in the first place.

http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/sign-the-petition-against-uc-davis-chancellor/

Being an educator and working at a University my self I feel it is my and our responsibility to do whatever we can to preserve Universities as open, educational, dialogic, free and democratic spaces! It is up to all of us educators, researchers, students, administrators (!!) to make this our biggest priority in the future. If this will not be possible we will have to think more about alternatives. Without true educational spaces there is no future.

Memefest works for ten years as a alternative university. We have always also collaborated with established, formal Universities around the world. We have been able to change and influence quite a few things for the better, and we were able to learn a lot from fantastic people within Universities. But we need to do much more.

I also believe that there is a lesson to learn. I am worried that I was surprised and shocked when I saw the video. I should have known better.

Going back to the images circulating and being collected and published on the "pepper spraying cop" tumblr blog: iam interested on how do you read them. A critique? A joke? Art? Image activism? Virus? Does this have an effect and if yes, what is the effect of this...??

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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.

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