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Memefest

COLLECTIVE   +   NETWORK

Design is Not Enough
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This text was originally written during the Declarations conference at Concordia University in 2001 in Montreal, Canada.

It was at that time when we were preparing the first Memefest, which happened in 2002. Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia we felt truly inspired to read this lines and learn more about the Declarations event. It showed us that there is a really impressive and organized scene of designers, educators and students which actively and in such an amazing and articulated way question the dominant design discourse. And we couldn't agree more with the ideas we read. Not long after all three authors signed under Design is Not Enough we became friends and collaborators- a relationship which lasts until today.

The text is not so easy to find online these days, but we feel it is a beautiful and really important text and it should be read widely. So, here it is published in its entirety!

* Images by Sandy Kaltenborn

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Design Is Not Enough

What happens to graphic design when it leaves the professional discourse behind, to do political work with activist groups and social movements? That's the question we wanted to explore with the students and community members at Concordia University.
The answers have been different for us, and they'll be different for everyone involved. But we know that the experience of political engagement takes design practice away from the forms in which it usually appears in society today: as advertising, art, information or propaganda.

Advertising first. It's one of the most powerful forces in our societies, and it's actually a form of politics itself, with a clear agenda: the promotion of consumer capitalism. But it's a politics without conflict, without debate, addressed to spectators with no way of talking back. It reduces the citizen to a consumer. As a professional, client-led, mass-produced process, advertising is Enemy Number 1 for politically engaged designers, not least because it occupies all the biggest and flashiest spaces: TV commercials, billboards, neon signs, lightboxes, endless magazine pages...

Two residual opponents to advertising are art and information (newspapers, journalism). You could say they're Enemies Number 2 and 3 – but they're already much easier to work with and transform. Art in our societies stands for the individual, for subjectivity: it's the opposite of organized party politics and propaganda. Which is fine for us, because we don't believe in political parties as they're organized today, and we don't want to produce propaganda. But what passes for art in the multimedia economy of contemporary design is something that constantly borders on visual entertainment, the endless production of new attractions, novelty for novelty's sake. The thing is to find a social twist in artistic creativity, to set artistic processes at work in a group or a social movement, to turn originals into multiples, or multipliers.

As soon as you get into groups, issues and social movements, information becomes the key. You've got to get the information out, and that's where you run into journalism. But at the same time, that's where you realize the newspaper can really be an adversary. The newspaper represents truth in our societies. But the truth lies. The news media lie by omission, by distortion, by change of emphasis, or they just outright lie, putting words in your mouth that were never there. And like advertising, or even like art in a lot of cases, the news media address spectators, in a situation where they can't talk back. That's the opposite situation from the one we want to produce, and it shows the basic reason why design practice alone is not enough for political involvement. What we want to create are situations where you talk to people who talk back. Situations where the ears are as important as the eyes, where the written word and the image get left behind in the conversation. And so we have a central idea for the whole workshop, which is: RESPONSE-ABILITY.

What we're talking about are social situations where people with a particular skill, a particular passion or professional ability – whether it's photography, art, writing, graphic design, music or poetry – can fit into a movement of collaborative expression in such a way that they add something without dominating, and without distorting the process. This kind of movement takes you beyond any “designer identity” – when it really works it can spread in all directions, open up new spaces in institutions, even make it possible to change your relations at work, with clients, in university situations and so on. It's a way to get outside the straightjacket of being a wage-earner and a citizen-consumer. But for people with the specific skills of graphic designers, it involves a real responsibility. Because designers have an important role to play in social movements, which is the role of making the goals of group activity visible, precisely in a way that encourages the continuation of the process.

Design in an activist group or a social movement is always going to be a matter of tactics, which means working from a position of weakness, where you don't have the keys to all the doors and you can't make strategic plans with an overarching view. It means improvising, finding the unexpected materials and expressions that can help release a power of collaboration going far beyond the objects you can imagine and make. Design in these situations is a success when the designer disappears and the users take over. That's how designs tactics can have a social impact, without all the resources and strategies of governments or big corporations.

So what's at the bottom of all this? Why do some crazy people spend all their free time doing something they'll never get paid for and where they even tend to disappear, not as individuals but as stars and signatures?

The thing is that it can change your life. It can teach you what responsibility means, get you out of your cocoon and into situations of social cooperation and confrontation. That's what we mean by politically engaged graphic design, or that's the beginning of the story anyway.

Maybe we all got an idea of how quick and how far that story can go, over the four short days when the group and the facilitators seemed to share something more than just the products we created together.
Many thanks to Lydia Sharman, the students and all the others who made this experience possible.


Tony Credland, Sandy Kaltenborn, Brian Holmes
For the “Design is Not Enough” workshop at Concordia University

Food/Media/Crisis - Memefest Los Angeles sessions
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Food/Media/Crisis:
Memefest Los Angeles sessions
Feb 9-10, 2018
Pomona College LA

A special two-day workshop / critical discussion facilitated by Memefest on the intersections of Media Theory, Tactical Communication, Design and Food Politics.

This workshop will examine the corporate takeover of our food by connecting Media Theory, Tactical Communication, Design and Food Politics. Food/Media/Crisis aims to facilitate intimate, intense and imaginative conversations and critical reflections resulting in the production of texts and images that will challenge our understanding of our relationship with food. These conversations, texts and images will then be assembled and edited into a tactical publication. The topics we will focus on are:

1. The image of food
Food images are some of the most liked, shared, and (re)produced images on the Internet. Given this pervasiveness, can food images be used as media for socially engaged intervention? What could be the strategies to make food image culture start working in favor of a more just food system?

2. Food, Drugs, Addiction, Dependence.
The food industry produces food as drugs, advertises food as drugs and turns pleasure into control. The advertising industry uses addictive technology as a business model, while the pharma industry earns billions from deadly addiction. Are we in a new state of addictive culture? What is the relationship between food, media technology and drugs and what can we do about it?  

3. Food and Cultural Identity/Resistance/Survival
In the face of neoliberal monoculture, the preparation, eating and sharing of food is one of the most accessible and pleasurable ways of remaining connected to our cultural identities, practiceing care, and linking us to ancestral lands, customs, and values. At the same time, capitalism exoticises, markets, and fusions (sic) our foods, rendering them into just another consumer commodity. How do we reclaim our relationship to food in order to strengthen our cultural identities, or use it as a means of cultural resistance?

4 . Food and Class Conflict
Food, like fashion, is one of the key identifiers of class values, and is linked to many vectors of class conflict; the access to food (and gardens) through pricing, availability and urban planning, the role of restaurants in neighborhood gentrification, and the symbolic language and values we place upon eating (as luxury/as survival). All while mass food production methods displace and impoverish the communities that produce food sustainably globally. How can we subvert these codes, while also addressing the direct and systemic challenges for food sovereignty?

Participants will choose a topic of their interest and work in collaborative groups. The workshop is a collaboration between Memefest and Pomona College and is going to be facilitated by Dr Mark Andrejevic, Kevin Lo, MA and Dr Oliver Vodeb.

Participants are invited to check the following references before the workshop:

Geert Lovink, Interview with Oliver Vodeb (Memefest) on the Addictive Power of Memes Today
http://networkcultures.org/geert/2017/06/22/interview-with-oliver-vodeb-memefest-on-the-addictive-power-of-memes-today/

Memefest Food Democracy gallery: http://memefest.org/en/competition/works2013/

Oliver Vodeb (2017) Food Democracy, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication, Design and Art: http://memefest.org/en/fooddemocracy/

Conflict Kitchen: https://www.conflictkitchen.org/

Lipstick and Bread: www.lipstickandbread.com




Pleasure Praxis Education & Research: The Memefest Melbourne Sessions
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As part of the Memefest Festival of Socially Responsive Communication, Design and Art, the second International Memefest/Swinburne Extradisciplinary Symposium, Workshop/ Interventions event was held from November 21-28th at Swinburne University in Melbourne. This was the fourth Memefest event held in Australia, (check links to previous events at bottom of this post) and it continued to implement the unique Memefest approach to education, research and public engagement. 


The event focussed on Memefest’s 2016 theme - Pleasure, curated by Dr Oliver Vodeb and extended the global Memefest Festival Friendly competition on the same theme. The Memefest/Swinburne Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention was curated by Lisa Gye and Dr Oliver Vodeb. The aim of the event was to research current perspectives on pleasure and its role in design, media/ communications, everyday life and community. The findings of this research were applied through the Memefest workshop process on relevant projects through the application of innovative, collaborative and inter/extradisciplinary approaches that connect theory and practice, pedagogy and research.

The event applied Memefest’s established extradisciplinary methodology in order to further develop relations between the disciplines of design, media and communication and art which contributes to the ongoing process towards the decolonization of knowledge. Arguably no other methodology we know creates such intense levels of collaboraiton between disciplines and people of such diverse backgrounds.

Around sixty students, educators, researchers, activists and community members from Europe, Canada, USA and Australia collaborated on the three-day symposium and five day workshop developing new research, public interventions and international networks. 

Listen to Associate Professor Roderick Grant, Memefest curator, symposium speaker, workshop mentor and Graphic Design Department Chair at OCAD U Toronto reflecting on the event:

 

 

A number of high quality communication/design/media projects were developed and designed during the workshops. These included strategies, posters, web sites, videos, stickers, badges, tactical presentation/education tools, written materials as well as strenghtened networks, new friendships and most beautiful sparks of intellectual camaraderie.

Most of the groups working at the Memefest event continue to collaborate and are fine-tuning and expanding the projects developed at the workshops. A number of projects have already been implemented into the public space of Melbourne as well as various locations around Australia. This work will continue as projects are further expanded during 2017.

Listen here to Kevin Yen Kit Lo, creative director of Lokidesign, Lecturer at Concordia University, Montreal/ Memefest co-mentor, Aboriginal activist Kristy -Lee Horswood and anti celebrity chef, writer extraordinaire /Adjunct Professor Swinburne University, Dr Darren Tofts reflecting on Memefest as a process and methodology. More video interviews are at the bottom of this post.

 

Kevin Lo from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

Kristy Lee Horswood from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

Darren Tofts from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

Stop Racism Now!

We were highly inspired by the actions of Jafri Katagar, who protests each Friday against racism in front of Flinders Station, Melbourne. Together with Jafri we developed a visual identity consisting of protest signs, stickers, badges as well as a special web site, which has now become the hub for the Stop Racism Now network. We have also worked together on articulating Jafri’s thoughts in writing, connecting the philosophy of the interventions with decolonization and providing Jafri with tools for public presentation of the campaign as well as generating funding support.

Since the start of our collaboration Jafri has been featured on the highly succesful SBS documentary Is Australia Racist? and became appointed as the Multicultural electorate officer for La Trobe/Melbourne division and is helping a federal member of parliament to get young people off the streets. Jafri also enrolled into studying as he wants to become a human rights lawyer. 


https://www.stopracismnow.org/

 

 

 

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Jafri Katagar from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Autonomous Pleasure Spaces

 


While researching concepts of pleasure we looked at the city as a place for autonomy - or what is left of it. The right to the city as a concept started to connect to pleasure more and more. We thought of Jafri and how he has found a space in the middle of the crossroads in front of Flinders Street station that has granted him a certain autonomy that he needs to perform his actions. We also thought of Europe and its public spaces, its cafe culture and the history of the emergence of the public sphere. We realized that pleasure in various forms is in all these situations. It is  not only present but is also the driving force of political actions.

We also contemplated spaces where we felt really free and what role pleasure always played in these experiences. Autonomous Pleasure Spaces is a curatorial project which aims to research futher the connections between autonomy, pleasure and space and will feature curated artists, designers and writers reflecting on the concept through their works.

See the progress of it here: https://www.autonomouspleasurespaces.com/

 

Stephen Thorpe Jnr Videos and Web Materials

Stephen Thorpe is a Gunai Gunditjamara man from Gippsland, Victoria. His remarkable story has led him from challenging beginnings to becoming a proud chef focusing on Aboriginal food. In 2016, he undertook a placement at Noma, the then highest ranked restaurant in the world. He advised Noma’s Chef Rene Redzepi Indigenous food, while Noma opened in Sydney. . Stephen currently works as a chef at Charcoal Lane restaurant in Fitzroy, Melbourne, where he initially  began to forge his connection between native food, relationship to country and the assertion of his sovereignty as an Aboriginal man.

Stephen is also a mentor for young Aboriginal men with the Dardi Munwurro “Strong Spirit” organisation, which was established in 2000 to provide leadership training programs and personalised coaching. Dardi Munwurro programs are designed to assist Indigenous men in identifying their emotions and personal strengths, and in doing so, discover their own leadership potential and develop a vision for their future.

The videos and website developed for Stephen during the workshop will be used to inspire the young Aboriginal men that he works with in his role as mentor for Dardi Munwurro. We are continuing to work with Stephen, documenting his learning journey through the creation of more short video works and stories about Indigenous food cultures.

http://www.stephenthorpejnr.net/









 



 

 

 

 

A Thousand and One Disguises of Flesh

Tactical cooking with Oliver Vodeb, Manfred Huber & Darren Tofts: Food, Design, Art and the Poetry of Everyday Life

 






“Herodotus, Athanaeus and Plutarch have recorded that in order to stimulate the guests to enjoy earthly pleasures to the full, a coffin was sometimes brought in at the end of the meal with a skeleton in it so that they should appreciate more highly the good things in life.” – Larousse Gastronomique

Curriculum for the excitation of taste and the euphoria of the mind

After all is said and done, after the comestibles are complete, the dishes washed and the appetite sated, this will not, after Marcel Duchamp, have been a cooking class. Nor will it have been a seminar de cuisine, in the manner of the debauched tangle of Epicureanism, sex and death in Marco Ferreri’s 1973 film La Grande Bouffe. Rather it is a collective exploration of the possible, of what can be done with little, enjoyed and remembered with so much pleasure.

The bricolage of cooking, of trying out what ingredient goes with another, is about pushing the boundaries, mixing liquorice and pate, lark’s tongues and aspic. The excited piquancy of that first taste, the olfactory pleasure of consumption and the afterglow of feeling different than you did before, sated and joyous, is an experience to which you are invited.

Gourmands, gluttons, epicures, snackers and all manner of nibblers have been invited to participate in a one-day cooking event in which you they have prepared and consumed a bespoke dish invented by anti-celebrity Chefs Oliver Vodeb, Manfred Huber and Darren Tofts. But table manners and participants’ kerchiefs needed to be left at home. Instead we were thinking of washing spinach with the Sex Pistols, chowing down with the Ramones and cleaning up with Iggy Pop. More punk than perfection, this event was about the simple joys of trying it on, of seeing what happens and making something sublime out of very little. The ancient alchemists manufactured gold from base metals. We turned offal into an olfactory sensation, sardines into Dalmatian  pleasure, discussed Pirates and Temporary Autonomous Zones, James Joice’s Ulysses and Swiss cheese and the importance to change how society relates to food...and learned cooking- one of the most important skills we can learn.



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Extending Pleasure

How difficult it is to do Memefest? Let’s say it is not easy. The institutional contexts in which we work are full of contradictions, the restraints of the disciplines quite radical and the shortsightedness of the professions blinding. But our ambitions are big and Memefest is a very complex project. Even for us it is sometimes not that easy to explain what we do. Extending Pleasure aimed at developing a set of tactical tools which would help to open doors, focus attention and foster dialogue in contexts not necessarily familiar with the critical avant- garde of practical intellectuals. In this way the benefits, and they are many, of collaborating with Memefest would be presented and the advantages for collaborating institutions realised. A sort of a helper for Universities and other institutions, so to speak. 

A plan was made to write up and mobilize the international networks for a manifesto for Memefest. Good stuff and timely for celebrating 15 years of Memefest! Congratulations!











Thank you:

We would like to thank in a heartfelt way the Swinburne University Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Advancement) and the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design at Swinburne University of Technology for their sponsorship and support. Without it, this event and its interntional reach would not be possible. We are aware that this is a special event and therefore your support counts even more. We would also like to thank our student Dalton Bruyns as well as the amazing Katie Bush for designing the very beautiful visual identity and the posters of the event, we would like to thank Norwood printers for your generous sponsorship and RMIT Mastere of Communication Design for printing the beautiful Memefest Risograph posters.

We would also like to thank all of the symposium speakers and workshop participants and anyone who helped us and collaborated with us in any way: students, colleagues, friends, members of the community and especially members of the International Memefest network for such terrific engagement and collaboration. It is this, which makes it all happen, makes it all special and worthwile.

Till next time,
Dr Oliver Vodeb and Lisa Gye, curators and organisers of the event.


Check out more photos of the event and videos of Swinburne Design masters Student Eleanor Downie, Memefest/ Swinburne Award recipient and design educator at Willem de Koonig Academy in Roterdam, Janneke de Rooij, and Dr Sam Burch, University of Queensland educator and active campaigner in support for the First Nations people:

 

Eleanor Downie from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

Janneke de Rooij from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

Sam Burch from SwinMedia on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the links to some of the previous Memefest events:


Radical Intimacies: Dialogue in our Times: http://memefest.org/en/memeblog/2015/08/radical-intimacies-many-different-fruits-our-dialogue/

Food Democracy:
http://memefest.org/en/profile/oliver/blogs/2013/11/keep-the-fire-burning-some-post-event-thoughts-/

Debt:
http://memefest.org/en/memeblog/2012/12/debt-the-workshopseminarintervention/

 

LECTURE Roderick Grant Critical Infrastructure: Landscape, Intention and Intervention
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What we see as the outward visual denotation of urban infrastructure is not always connected directly to what it might connote as a symbol, an index, or as an embodiment of policy, need, capital and spatial practice. The objective of this new research and scholarship is to bring to light the disjunctions and contradictions in the visual coherence of our urban infrastructure, and to reveal how we might begin to analyze its meaning and re-assess the significance of its critical adaptation, and intentional evolution. The core aspects of infrastructure that this investigation will address begin with energy – what can be understood by their critically assessing the overlap, integration and opposition of infrastructure with seen and unseen aspects of governance.

Roderick Grant is Chair + Associate Professor of Graphic Design at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Memefest member. Before joining OCAD University in the Fall of 2009, Roderick was Assistant Professor of Design, at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He holds an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BA in Urban Studies from New College of Florida. Roderick’s design practice – simonjames – a partnership with his wife Michelle Grant, focuses on small architectural and editorial projects, design competitions, and speculative design work. He is currently a Visiting Researcher at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia for the 2016/17 academic year, initiating a longer-term research project on urban infrastructure, photojournalistic representation and visual narrative construction.

Lecture will be held at the Center for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne- March 2nd at 18h. You are warmly invited!

Image credit: Roderick Grant, Brunswick Terminal Station, 2016, courtesy the artist.

Memefest PLEASURE Friendly Competition results and the Memefest / Swinburne award for Imaginative Critical Intervention
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We are very excited to announce this years Memefest friendly competition results. As each year Memefest has invited the global community to engage with our special theme- this year it was PLEASURE.

Pleasure is central to our lives and communication/design and art play a major role in our relationship to it. Pleasure is an episodic phenomenon. As we all learn early on it does never really last for very long, therefore we are constantly seeking for ways to get it.

While pleasure can be used to live life fully, as well as to render people into tools it seems we rarely think of it outside its immediate effects and certainly we think even less of pleasure as social practice and something we could relate to the world in transformative ways that challenge the status quo.

Memefest 2016 is interested in pleasure in what we see as its fundamental qualities.

Pleasure is designed through visual communication/media and technology and channels into our aspirations and lifestyles. Aren’t we supposed to have pleasure all the time and does not the promise of success in life promise us a life full of pleasure? We can chose to do this, but in order to be successful we have to follow written and unwritten rules- but who makes the rules and who are the rules benefiting?

As a human experience pleasure can be an illness or a cure and many times it can be both at the same time. It can bring people together, connect them and decrease human suffering. But it can also set them apart and cause harm.

Pleasure is connected with substances- anything from food to drugs, anything we take into our bodies to experience pleasure. If you think of it- in this way we experience pleasure many times a day. But how does this make us relate to the world?

We are interested in processes where pleasure meets with conflict and especially in ways we can experience pleasure in our everyday life, which can contribute to its radical transformation towards social justice. How can pleasure transform the way we live, laugh, listen, eat, create, think, imagine, dream, work, play and relate to each other?

Two levels of knowledge production and recognition as a result of our curatorial process connect global voices and local interventions.

The theme PLEASURE was demanding and ambitious. Works submitted came from four continents and we can clearly see a younger generation engaging with Socially Responsive Communication.

Your feedback is fantastic and your works are incredibly valuable and a huge contribution to this discussion! They are very inspiring and we all can learn a lot from them.

So, results for main Memefest Friendly Competition categories are known and we are very happy to announce them. It is time to open the forum to the public. Have a look at the best works here: http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2016/ Read Memefest’s official feedback on them and let us know about your perspective.

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 members: http://www.memefest.org/en/competition/curators/ We are happy and honoured to be working with them and with many of them for a long time, which makes our collaboration even more precious.

Congratulations to everyone who participated and submitted their works- especially the highest curated ones!!

Next is our special Memefest/ Swinburne University Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention.

The Memefest/ Swinburne award for Imaginative Critical Intervention is given to support critical thinking, as the ability to see situations as they are and imagine them differently in a way that emancipates and leads to transformation through intervention. Such interventions can be many things. They create a rupture in the order of things and aim to redefine our understandings of the relations between being, doing and saying and our fields of experience. Such interventions, conditioned by critical thinking, are tightly connected to the principle of response-ability, an active position of engagement that comes with the capacity to transformatively act in situations, insisting that what matters are the human implications of our interactions and not just market imperatives.

Curated by Lisa Gye and Dr Oliver Vodeb, the recipients of the award are invited to Melbourne- Australia to take part in our in residence program.

The awards go to:

Laura Ballantyne-Brodie
Pleasure, pain and dispossession (in the Anthropocene)

Laura’s work asks us to consider how we may still find pleasure in a world where “weather no longer exists, only climate. Everything is politics. There is more plastic than fish in the ocean, chemicals in the water and ecosystem destruction at scale. There is no hope.” In the Anthropocence, she writes, “it’s necessary to consider, to imagine other ways to continue the co-evolution of the human story with Earth”. Her succinct text proposes that we need to simultaneously enter the Imaginocene, a place where we can “reimagine the narrative and ‘destiny’ of homo sapiens to use their force to recreate a world”.

We believe that Laura’s work calls for a crucial human ability, quality and a vital tool – our imagination, to become the center of our engagement with the world. As democracy is clearly mostly failing us (Billionaire Trump just became president of the USA) and climate change is according to newest research actually about to irreversibly accelerate - the Imagocene is pleasures epoch yet to come.

Laura’s work asks some vital and timely questions about where we are as a species right now. It emerges from her work as an environmental lawyer and her research focuses on an emerging systems approach to ethics, to function as a unifying foundational discipline for a non­anthropocentric (systems) approach to the environmental crisis, called Earth System Ethics. It is also tied to her activist work with Rent The World, an organization that advocates an understanding of Earth as a shared home to humanity and many other non­human species.

:: Pleasure, pain and dispossession in the anthropocene:: is a short poetic text that could become a manifesto. Imagine how pleasurable it will be to live in the Imagocene!

See the work here:
http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2016/1856/


Lea Piskiewicz
What happened today?

Lea’s work focuses on our continued desire for interconnectedness through media but imagines a platform that is free from the current corporate surveillance aimed at increasing our already excessive consumption. What’s Happening Today is a speculative networked environment which would allow users to share one piece of media related to pleasure a day with friends and family. Over time this would build into a personal archive that could be shared with future generations. The data collected would be securely stored and distributed with tight controls but could be used to track public sentiment, with the user’s explicit consent. This, in turn, could assist in planning for futures that align with people’s desires. It also allows for intergenerational connection as users could gift their archives to their loved ones.

As a work of speculative design, Lea’s work imagines another kind of social network that, in its turn, exposes the many faults that exist in our current applications. The lack of control we currently experience over our private information rubs up against our desire to connect with each other in sometimes very uncomfortable ways. Lea’s work contributes to attempts to re-vision and reimagine the future in ways that both enhance pleasure and disrupt our cooption by government and corporate agendas.

Lea’s work is a good example of how communication design can be used outside the usual image-as-end-goal centered design culture, a culture which, although defensive of its self-importance, won’t have much to do soon, as robots, software, templates, algorithms do what designers have done in the past. The main question then will be how to go beyond the image and towards communication. Lea’s work is a good example of Design’s future.

See the work here:
http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2016/1856/

Janneke de Rooij
Propaganda by the People

Propaganda by the People is a project by writer / filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen, animator Rogier Klomp and designer Janneke de Rooij. At a time of growing instability, this project invites people to contribute to a crowdsourced propaganda animation, which aims to create a new narrative about Europe from the ground up. The makers “believe Europe needs a new story. Not a new story from Brussels or one of the national governments, they failed before… A story that goes further than just the EU, but a story that brings together cultural, geographical and political Europe.”

The work opens up broader questions also for many other areas of the world, like Australia, to find new narratives that focuses on that comes from people and not politicians or the mainstream media. It also uses a tool, crowd-sourcing, in an innovative way. Rather than using crowd-sourcing for raising income, Propaganda by the People uses this tool for consciousness raising. And the rewards come from the pleasure of being able to add your own voice and your own story.

Propaganda by the People is opens an interesting perspective on propaganda as technology and as an approach to communication. Abused in the past, the “spreading of ideas” can be used for positive outcomes and if done “bottom up” and “by the people” even more so.

The project disrupts the top down manipulative power of propaganda and becomes a tool for generating ideas, producing them and contributing to the mobilization of creative workers and broader society. Congratulations, Good work!

See the work here:
http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2016/1784/

+ A special recognition goes to:
Kelly Hussey- Smith and Alan Hill for their work Aura

Aura is a work of beauty. Objects bought and opened from their packaging have been treated with forensic finger print powder before photographed. The works are revealing a contradiction between capitalist commodity abstraction and intimacy. Light years apart but brought close in these photographs they suggest a very human being behind the seemingly impeccable perfection. The work is almost scary and even more so if we think about the human traces on objects we know mostly through design and image - but later they become part of our lives, the aura of labor hidden in finger prints. Still a work in development a step to consider would perhaps be a stronger focus on the fetish character of the very object, their design and meaning established through brands and the very relation between the abstract and the intimate.

Here you can see the work:
http://www.memefest.org/en/gallery/works2016/1860/

The results of the Friendly Competition and the end of our extradisciplinary Symposium/ Workshop/ Interventions sessions today, marks 15 years of Memefest. Thank you all for being part of this crazy, amazing, beautiful Journey. More soon!!
















A thousand and one disguises of flesh
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Tactical cooking with Oliver Vodeb, Manfred Huber & Darren Tofts

“Herodotus, Athanaeus and Plutarch have recorded that in order to stimulate the guests to enjoy earthly pleasures to the full, a coffin was sometimes brought in at the end of the meal with a skeleton in it so that they should appreciate more highly the good things in life.” – Larousse Gastronomique


Curriculum for the excitation of taste and the euphoria of the mind

After all is said and done, after the comestibles are complete, the dishes washed and the appetite sated, this will not, after Marcel Duchamp, have been a cooking class. Nor will it have been a seminar de cuisine, in the manner of the debauched tangle of Epicureanism, sex and death in Marco Ferreri’s 1973 film La Grande Bouffe. Rather it is a collective exploration of the possible, of what can be done with little, enjoyed and remembered with so much pleasure.

The bricolage of cooking, of trying out what ingredient goes with another, is about pushing the boundaries, mixing liquorice and pate, lark’s tongues and aspic. The excited piquancy of that first taste, the olfactory pleasure of consumption and the afterglow of feeling different than you did before, sated and joyous, is an experience to which you are invited.

Gourmands, gluttons, epicures, snackers and all manner of nibblers are invited to participate in a one-day cooking event in which you will prepare and consume a bespoke dish invented by anti-celebrity Chefs Oliver Vodeb, Manfred Huber and Darren Tofts. But leave your table manners and your kerchiefs at home. Think instead of washing spinach with the Sex Pistols, chowing down with the Ramones and cleaning up with Iggy Pop. More punk than perfection, this event is about the simple joys of trying it on, of seeing what happens and making something sublime out of very little. The ancient alchemists manufactured gold from base metals. You can turn offal into an olfactory sensation.

So get your pinnies on and pump out the jam!

The Process:

We will invite ten Memefest event participants to be part of the tactical cooking session, which will happen on Saturday November 26th from 1.30- 5 pm at the CERES community kitchen. Your participation is free. We will cook and eat- the rest is secret. In order to participate write in few sentences why you would like to be part of this and send it to memefest@memefest.org till November 16. We will contact the chosen participants with more details. You are kindly invited.

Register for the Memefest event here: http://tinyurl.com/jb6bl7g

Memefest/Swinburne International Symposium/ Workshops Intervention 21-28 November, 2016 Swinburne University
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15.11. UPDATE: SYMPOSIUM PROGRAM PUBLISHED BELLOW

 

We are highly excited to announce that from November 21st to November 28th , Memefest will again hold our international extradisciplinary symposium, workshops and interventions, at Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Our aim is to connect students, academics and members of the community with refugee and asylum seeker networks and Aboriginal networks in order to research, learn and create socially transformative public interventions.

This year our focus is PLEASURE and, in particular, the three key pleasure matrixes through which we experience the world – hospitality/food, drugs and media. We are interested in processes where pleasure meets with conflict and especially in the ways that we can experience pleasure in our everyday lives, which can contribute to radical transformations towards social justice in terms of how we experience and act in the world. How can pleasure transform the way we live, laugh, listen, eat, create, think, imagine, dream, play, work and relate to each other?

We will host an incredibly exciting mix of people and work on beautiful things that matter. 

If you want to contact us with any questions or suggestions, if you want to participate write to us:

Lisa Gye lgye@swin.edu.au

Dr Oliver Vodeb oliver@memefest.org or ovodeb@swin.edu.au

 

Check here out 2014 event: http://tinyurl.com/jbsf8nr

 

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE>

See the list of abstracts HERE>

 

LOCATION:

AD108

Swinburne University of Technology

Burwood Road

Hawthorn, Victoria 3122

 

Symposium Program:

FIRST DAY 21.11

Entree

12.30 Registration and Welcome to country

Welcome by Prof. Glen Bates

Oliver Vodeb welcome and excursion on what will we do

Lisa Gye on Abu Ward

Darren Tofts on Pleasure

Oliver Vodeb Memefest Pleasure outlines and putting things into perspective

Introduction of Participants

Short Break

 

  MAIN

 

2.30 George Petelin: Problems of Pleasure In Neoliberal Society

3.15 Vida V. Voncina: Soaking my feet in the stories of resistance: Pleasure, Language and Body in political becoming

4.00 Andrew Garton: Hospitality, the new world and cine-ethnography

4.45 Andrew Peters and Josie Arnold: Pleasure as Being

 

SECOND DAY 22.11

9.30 Lisa Gye: Avant-gardening and horticountercultural politics: how the pleasures of gardening can lead to social transformation

10.15 Andrew Gunstone: The Pleasure of Reconciliation

11.00 Break

11.30 Jafri Katagar: STOP RACISM NOW!

12.15 Linda Briskman: Reframing refugee: Perpetual victim or pleasure seeker

1.00 Lunch

1.45 Nina Kelabora: The Butterfly Effect

2.30 The Memefest/Swinburne award for Imaginative Critical Intervention awardees and special recomendation:

2.30 Janneke de Rooij: Propaganda by the People

3.15 Laura Ballantyne-Brodie: Pleasure, pain and dispossession (in the anthropocene)

4.00 Lea Piskiewicz: What Happened Today?

4.45. Alan Hill and Kelly Husey-Smith: Aura

5.30 Break

5.45 Jason Bainbridge: Satisfaction Deferred: The Pleasure of Television

 

THIRD DAY 23.11.

9.30 Darren Tofts: The pleasure of the Teste (with apologies to Roland Barthes)

10.15 Jasa Gabrian: When the laughs go out

11.00 Break

11.30 Kristy Lee Horswood: Plaisir to Pleasure; the manipulation of society through language.

12.15 Roderick Grant: Food and Communication Design: Teaching Hospitality

13.00 Lunch

13.45 Scott Townsend: Social Pleasure and Design and Social Innovation: Community Work in Greece 2015-2017

2.30 Kevin Lo: The Propaganda of Pantone: Colour and Subcultural Sublimation

3.15 Sam Burch: Traditional Ecstacies vs the Commodification of Pleasure

4.00 Steven Thorpe: My journey with food as an Aboriginal man

4.45 Oliver Vodeb: Pleasure Praxis

 

18.00 Evening at the Hawthorn Hotel

481 Burwood Rd
Hawthorn VIC 3122

 

24.- 28.11. Workshops (Starting at 9.30 on Thursday 24.11.)

 

MEMEFEST 2016 OUTLINES: PLEASURE

 

Pleasure is central to our lives and communication/design and art play a major role in our relationship to it. Pleasure is an episodic phenomenon. As we all learn early on it does never really last for very long, therefore we are constantly seeking for ways to get it.

While pleasure can be used to live life fully, as well as to render people into tools it seems we rarely think of it outside its immediate effects and certainly we think even less of pleasure as social practice and something we could relate to the world in transformative ways that challenge the status quo.

Memefest 2016 is interested in pleasure in what we see as its fundamental qualities.

Pleasure is designed through visual communication/media and technology and channels into our aspirations and lifestyles. Aren’t we supposed to have pleasure all the time and does not the promise of success in life promise us a life full of pleasure?  We can chose to do this, but in order to be successful we have to follow written and unwritten rules- but who makes the rules and who are the rules benefiting?

As a human experience pleasure can be an illness or a cure and many times it can be both at the same time. It can bring people together, connect them and decrease human suffering. But it can also set them apart and cause harm.

Pleasure is connected with substances- anything from food to drugs, anything we take into our bodies to experience pleasure. If you think of it- in this way we experience pleasure many times a day. But how does this make us relate to the world?

We are interested in processes where pleasure meets with conflict and especially in ways we can experience pleasure in our everyday life, which can contribute to its radical transformation towards social justice. How can pleasure transform the way we live, laugh, listen, eat, create, think, imagine, dream, work, play and relate to each other?

But let us explain more.

 

THE PLEASURE OF MEDIA

 

A spectacle is a social relation mediated by the image. But exposure through social media brings pleasure- it can make us feel good. And as pleasure never really lasts for long, we tend to look for ways to enhance it: not only more exposure of ourselves, but more exposure of ourselves through pleasurable content where pleasure becomes image. Pleasure connects with other pleasure: food selfies for example are some of the most popular images on the Internet. Because of pleasure they have very strong communicative potential.  What else can pleasure media be used for? Can pleasure media become a medium for social change?

 

THE PLEASURE OF HOSPITALITY (and being human)

 

Currently Millions of refugees are trying to save their lives and find a better future risking their lives on their way. Families, children without parents are traveling alone and under extremely dangerous conditions, people leaving behind everything they had.

In Slovenia, a small county in the heart of Europe, 24 high school teachers have recently signed a protest letter against six refugees from Syria – aged 10-14-who lost their parents and were fleeing a brutal war zone. The refugees have being offered accommodation in the high school dormitory, but educators were against it.  The majority of parents of the Slovenian kids attending the high school signed the letter too.  The pleasure of giving hospitality was abandoned for the pleasure of submitting to fear.

The French TV program, Zone Interdite showed a documentary where refugees from Afghanistan on their two year long way to Europe described Paris as a warm place, where helicopters were spraying perfume all over the city.

What can we do?

The German project Refugees Welcome is a network of people offering home to refugees. In exchange homeowners experience the pleasure of sharing and learn about another culture through new human relations in their every day life.

German artist Thomas Kilpper’s, “Lighthouse for Lampedusa,” was created to provide essential orientation at sea and help to navigate refugee boats into safety when approaching this south Italian Island. It should house a museum and cultural center, the only one on the island. The Lighthouse is conceived as a tower and a landmark building, capable of hosting a diverse and trans-national programs of communication, negotiation, exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events on its ground floor. It would serve as a place that attracts not only new visitors to the island but also local people—making Lampedusa not just a location to talk about, but also a place to learn from and listen to the ideas of others. The tower was partially composed with stranded migrant rubber boats from Lampedusa.

 

 

THE PLEASURE OF DRUGS

 

In February 2016 Australia experienced an incredible drug bust: 1.2 BN worth of liquid methamphetamine, used to produce ICE/Crystal Meth found in silicon bra inserts and art supplies.

 

 

Such a huge find of such a harmful drug? Each human is a product of her time. In the end ICE is known to make people fearless. Is it a coincidence that the word “anxiety” and “anxiety symptoms” is searched for on Google mostly by Australians

What is the reaction on the mayor ICE bust? We have seen many calls for more control, but we haven’t heard anyone asking what are the reasons of anxiety in times of radical uncertainty in a capitalist society.

Drugs as pleasure have always played a fundamental part of our lives. Some drugs are prohibited, some are made legal and with it pleasure is regulated. This does not mean that the prohibition is successful; the war on drugs has failed a long time ago, because it renders pleasure into a tool of capitalist dominance. Capitalisms business models are based on addiction. New clothes, new technology, permanently new and innovative strategies in institutions, new cars, new mobile phones new this and that, are what we can see everyday. And our addictions rising- just think of our addiction from screens and social media and the internet- the perfect complementary drug to the pharmaceuticals- the legal drug of choice- creating an atmosphere, but never demanding, or even destroying – focus or attention.  While “expanding horizons”,  “exploring consciousness” and "hedonism" used to be a quality of drugs, pharmaceuticals are correctives, ironing out inappropriate behavior. No wonder the drugged masses like to do the “right thing”. Little pleasure the pharmaceuticals give us, we must add as well.

 

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Many times people who change the world for the better would never think of themselves as activists. They live a life of love, solidarity, friendship …and pleasure and change things through their practice of everyday life. Many times, people who “are doing good” seem to achieve the opposite. And many times it’s even hard to say how much good and how much harm we are doing, all at once, stuck in contradictory positions. Pleasure can teach us a lot about these relations.

 

We are interested in processes where pleasure meets with conflict and especially in ways we can experience pleasure in our everyday life, which can contribute to its radical transformation. How can pleasure transform the way we live, laugh, listen, eat, create, think, imagine, dream, work, play and relate to each other?

Memefest
ABOUT ME

Username

Memefest


Name

Memefest Collective/Network


Birth year

2002


Gender

female


Country

Slovenia


Website

http://www.memefest.org


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