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Mapping Socially responsive communication workshop- experimental geography.


Not long ago i announced that part of Memefest award will be a invitation to participate in the special workshop titled Mapping Socially responsive communication in June 2011.


Many of you have shown great interest to participate in this and we are very much looking forward to work with twenty chosen authors of the best participants from this years friendly competition.

I think it's time to start preparing a bit for it. The main goal of the workshop will be to understand and visually map the differences between marketing driven communication and socially responsive communication. Not only the differences BUT ALSO the reasons why this differences are mostly invisible- they are not seen or better: they are not recognized by the majority of communication practitioners (designers, advertisers, clients etc.) The fantastic paradox however is that even there is this invisibility of differences, they do have a communicative effect.

In my own practice as educator and communications studio director i could see
this invisibility of visual communication over and over again. I think what we need to do is to develop maps that will help us understand this logic better but maybe even more than that- such maps, could in my opinion help open a path of understanding and dialogue between those who want to practice socially responsive communication and those who have to be part of such a process, but are still hooked on marketing communication even they want to act in a socially responsible manner.

Many exciting mapping projects have been done, though non- at least to my knowledge that were dealing with communication. In order to prepare for the workshop we'll have to gain certain preparation knowledge on the subject.

Here is a good book curated by Nato Thompson and Independent curators international and a strong introduction text on the subject on radical approaches to cartography by Trevor Paglen i recommend for reading. (strangely the text is posted two times, so it ends actually in the middle)


More soon.

Deadline for submissions is EXTENDED till January 25th!


Hi Comrades. We are excited to say that we have received inspirational works from around the Globe. Some of them are just brilliant!
However, many requests arrived asking for extension of deadline. We are happy to listen to our community. So... we will wait for your wonderful works till JANUARY 25th!

If you have any questions regarding your submissions don't hesitate to ask!

We recommend also you read this blog post with some hints regarding your submission.

Good luck!

PS: here are again few hints for you when submitting:

1. Visual communications practice category:


make sure you respond the the festival outline LOVE:CONFLICT:IMAGINATION

We need to be able to see the connection with the theme and your work. Also, take time when providing the written description of your work and explain the connections with the theme.

2. We would also like to stress that participation is open to everyone. There is no age limitation or any restriction. :)

3. Check out our radical and inspirational Awards here:


4. Submit your work via our submit application here:


Memefest Awards- Mapping Socially Responsive Communication Workshop


This might come as a surprise, but most of so called »socially engaged« communication is either not effective or even counterproductive. Why? The main reason is that such communication is conceived in the same way as marketing communication for a product or service. The difference is content, but the perspective from which such communication starts and the dynamics it produces in the public sphere are pretty much the same.

When it comes to visual communication, the ideological trap lies in the nature of the image as a cognitive product of our spectacle based culture. Communication is perceived on the level of the image surface. Extracted formal surface.

Social problems are treated as products and communications solution to this problems are treated as products as well. Most of this communication would officially fall under the umbrella term of »social marketing«. This means a specific perspective through the lens of the market is employed for solving social issues. But can we use the exclusive perspective of the market to solve social problems with communication?

Lets take this example. It tells us that French fries (or fast food) is bad for us. But people know that already very well. So…if they know it- why do they keep eating it? This is a simple but representative example of whats wrong with this picture. The problem is deeper. But the communication »solutions« suggests to stay on the surface.

There is hundreds of communication examples, designed on the same principles as our example here, which are awarded, praised and taught about and shown on conferences, festivals and at universities. Such communication work does not change anything, but it makes the impression that things are getting changed. It creates a surface image of change instead of real change through (visual) communication.

If communication should influence dominant memes, we should first think about reasons for certain behavioral and cognitive patterns. The reasons are complex and different. To some extent they are mainly ideological- and here we come to the next step of the problem. How can we as communicators together reflect on the dominant (market driven) ideology of communication if this is the DNA within most of the University communication and design programs, within the professional institutions such as advertising agencies and design studios? How can we practice communication that goes beyond the commercial perspective for social issues?

Memefest is researching this issues thoroughly for the past eight years. One of the most fascinating observations to me is that within the professional design and broader professional communications community this aspect of communication is almost completely ignored. A total blind spot. I can observe this among students, among designers- also (or especially) among design super stars and while co-directing my own communications studio i can see this type of perception regularly among clients.

So here is the idea:


What we will try to do is to produce visual maps which will show the differences (and reasons for them) between Socially Responsive Communication and »social marketing«.

Workshop will be mentored by some of the best radical communicators in the world. We will also try to experiment with the workshop format and dynamics in order to make this the most productive, creative and satisfying experience possible.

How does this sound to you?

Let's see what will happen. Have a good new year, you take care!

Read more about Memefest awards:


Participate in Friendly competition and get a chance to be invited to the workshop:


Read more about this subject in our new book:


Image taken from Design for Dissent (Glaser Milton & Ilić Mirko editors)

Memefest posters arround the World!


UPDATE 13.1. 2011. Added are photos (last 4) from posters in Belgrade.

We are very excited to show you first photos from our posters in the streets of various Cities from around the World.

Following are Memefest LOVE:CONFLICT:IMAGINATION posters that are right now hanging in the streets of Brisbane, Belgrade and Rio de Janeiro. We will update this post with other places whenever we get new photos from other cities.

Isn't that beautiful??

Memefest book: First impressions


Yea. Here it is, fresh out of print. Nine years of theory, communication and design practice, research, education and activism. One year in making. 576 pages of distillated thought, creativity and guts. In English and in Slovene. More about it and how to get it - coming soon.

Love for Memefest posters*


Traditionally Memefest puts special attention to the poster medium for each festivals promotional campaign. It's probably the love for paper and a visual communication tool which is tightly and historically connected to social movements. But it's also the potential effectiveness of the poster which is important. Every year we choose to work with someone whom we like and whose work we respect. It's a interesting process for us too. It makes us visually articulate the festival concept and pushes us further in the process of understanding it's social and cultural relevance.

So here we go: beautiful and strong, this three posters represent different perspectives of this years theme LOVE:CONFLICT:IMAGINATION. The plan was to create a visual poem, a open narrative that leaves enough space for subjective interpretation and active narration, while still remaining consistence to our theme which connects the personal with the social.

We will print posters in the next few days. They will be distributed in Ljubljana, Maribor, Koper, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Rio, Bogota, Belgrade, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and different cities in the Netherlands. This distribution will be made in collaboration with Memefest nodes, friends and partner organizations: Pina, Pink Sweater and Loesje.

You will be able to get this posters at the Radical communication event in Nijmegen, which will be held in beginning of June 2011, till than, enjoy if you see them in the streets around the world.

*Poster design: Inkahoots, Photography: Oliver Vodeb

ps: check out the festival outlines and participate in the Friendly Competition here:

pps: we received many emails asking us where to get this posters.
let's make this deal. send us a proof that you have helped to promote memefest and we will send you a poster of your choice.

Conflict 1#


Jason and i are working on posters for this year LOVE:CONFLICT:IMAGINATION Memefest theme. Posters are conceptualized around the relation between the three words. We will try to create a open narration, that can be interpreted and reinterpreted by the viewer. Still we are providing a framework of reference to this years festival guidelines. We are experimenting with photography this time.

Here is one. I like it a lot. It was taken at Australia's Gold Coast resort. Where natural beauty and human culture meet: in conflict.

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About memeblog

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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