Mapping workshop: Three levels of Socially responsive communication | oliver's blogpost @ Memefest
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Mapping workshop: Three levels of Socially responsive communication

In the last blog post we have been discussing some aspects about mapping possibilities of socially responsive communication and the difference between such communications to (social) marketing.

Thanks for all the comments, i believe we are getting closer to a start of understanding what needs to be included in the concept of our workshop in a few months.

Experimental geography has inspiring aspects, especially the urge to go beyond specific disciplines and through its practice constitute a political discourse that questions the »how« in the perspective of social construction of reality. Not taking this reality for granted it seems to be interested in the very power relations that constitute what they call »space«. Here concepts of culture and society are included- especially the point that society and culture is in a inter-relational relation, meaning we produce and what we produce produces us. This is nothing new, but is a valuable point, which brings us close to what we (in my opinion) need to do.

This time i am posting about another group that works with maps. French conceptual artists Bureau d'études.
I got in touch with their work in 2003 through Brian Holmes who collaborated with Memefest for several years. Holmes had worked with the French group on several mapping projects.

Fascinating about these maps is that they are dealing with extremely complex issues of hidden reality. Huge investigations need to be made, extremely sophisticated use of strong theory needs to be employed together with artistic interpretation and activist imagination. They also deal with human relations and that's what is important for us.

When dealing with communication we need to know that we will have to focus on the image production aspect of it. This complicated things a lot. But…that is what makes it also highly interesting, right?

The image production within our society brings with it specific institutional relations or as Holmes might call it »existential territories«. These relations shape the production process and therefore also the outcome.
Next dimension we need to focus on are special mechanisms of evaluation through ideological institutions that control the production of legitimate frameworks through which value (what is perceived as good communication) is defined, created and rewarded. Third, as we have already discussed, a specific communication approach for solving social problems is mainly used- namely marketing. Although clearly not a solution, the problems with using such communication remain invisible.

So here are the main three dimensions i believe we need to deal with at the workshop:

Any other important dimensions you think we need to add? I suggest we discuss this first and then go to more concrete ways/dimensions in terms of how to approach them.

Ps: (It is true; we will focus on the visual aspect of socially responsive communication. Mainly for two reasons. First: the blind spots of imposed marketing ideology seem to be the biggest within the sphere of visual communication. Second: we need to narrow the subject of our research workshop if we want to have a chance to get good results in one week time.)

Pps: first two map images taken from Bureau d’ etudes. First one can be can be found here:


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11 years, 9 months ago

There's a lot to consider in this- all good-

-but regarding the question of "anything else," I would suggest the need to look at scale and particular kinds of agency in varying groups at various steps in the "production/communication/evaluation" rubric.

11 years, 9 months ago

yes, let's do it. i guess we will need to distinguish between agency within different institutionalized frameworks.

market: companies (ad agencies, design studios), non governmental institutions

non market: loose, semi loose networks with communication projects implemented in the public sphere

in between: communication/art projects manifested in galleries

11 years, 9 months ago

There is the mapping and network aspect, but agency might also imply particular access points in the network to individuals and groups. Maps per se suggest a system, but there is a need to also consider the ability of groups and individuals to change or disrupt the "map"at strategic points.

It's a bit like game design.

11 years, 9 months ago

maybe we will need to map the situation as it is AND map the situation as we think it should be. the disruptive aspect should be than mapped in the second one.

the problem with dominant communication/design profession is that it is robbed of it's ability to think about it's own conditions of existence and practice. we need to map existing conditions/power relations etc too. and than show the disruptive potentials...

what do you think?

11 years, 9 months ago

Beyond the mapping process, which is no doubt interesting, my recent experience in AD agencies here in North America, has led me to think that we need to look very much at the social media landscape, because as it stands now, it is still a very contested territory.

The domination of the "image" is a moot point, and the creation of strategic and tactical counter-images is certainly important, but how these fit into a social communication (both marketing and otherwise) context, networks of information, is of extreme importance these days. The static image as sign is pretty irrelevant.

11 years, 9 months ago

artistic interpretation holds no such contestation if approached with documentary clarity... for example, sign has no place in the recording of light documents, which in terms of rogue fugue style, also has communication value within the realm of all disciplines, applied or otherwise to humanities.

can you hear a sturgic~hue in this avatar?

...or smell its scent of joules upon a forum of hope?





Oliver Vodeb






I am a member of Memefest communication/art/theory Kolektiv, and founder, curator and editor of Memefest Festival of Socially Responsive Communication and Art. Iam also facilitator of Memefest online social network.

I am an Academic at RMIT University, Melbourne. I teach and research mostly in the field of communication design. I approach design/communication from a critical inter/ extradisciplinary perspective and I investigate theoretical, strategic, conceptual and "hands on" practice.

I enjoy working in many different media including visual and text.

Books I have published :

This was my studio in Slovenia (2004-2012):

CV (sort of):

You can read some of my texts here:

I have joined the Memfest community becasue i am interested in

I have been here from the very beginning of Memefest. I am interested in communication/design for social and environmental change.
I name such communication socially responsive communication.

Broadly speaking I am interested in visual communication, photography, sociological aspects of communication, design and media.

Iam interested in institutionalised forms of communication like for example communication done by design/communication studios and advertising agencies as well as non institutionalised forms of communication like tactical media or broader aspects of media activism.

In a slightly more academic language:

I am interested in how critical social theory can illuminate the complex processes of production, distribution and reception of public (visual) communication in order to generate public communication as a responsible social, political, economic and cultural practice.

I am particularly interested in relations between concepts of response-ability and communication effectiveness, and the social construction of design and other forms of pubic communication as profession, practice and praxis within academia, the market environments and non-institutionalised communities.


was studiing at Faculty for social sciences University of Ljubljana


PhD in sociology of communication and design

Working place

RMIT University, School of Design, Master of Communication Design

Music I like

Flamming Lips, Pixies, The Black Crowes, Demeter, Porno for Pyros, Ry Cooder, Junior Kimbrough, Townes van Zandt, T-model Ford, The Dirty Three, Bonnie Prince Billy, Primus, Faith no More, Bob Dylan, RHCP, Alice Donut, Faith no more, Mark Lanegan, Reigning Sound, Total Control;

Books I like

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, A Confederacy of Dunces, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, PanikHerz...;

Films I like

The man who wasn't there, No country for old man, Genova, Zidane a 21st century portrait, There will be blood, Il Postino, Festen, Straight Story, Wild at heart, White Ribbon, Dog tooth;

Communication projects I like

I like stuff we did at Poper studio. I like posters from Inkahoots. I like the zine project 23/56 from Kevin. I like many things that were submitted to Memefest, I like stuff from Cactusnetwork, I like the work of Image-shift.

Websites I like,,,,,,,,,,,,

People I like

My dear family and my wonderful friends.