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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/

To Good Times!

Whatever you might be celebrating in the next days- have a nice time with your loved ones. Warmly from Memefest Kolektiv.

Keep The Fire Burning! Memefest/Swinburne Extradisciplinary Symposium/Workshop/Direct Action and a Special Award

We are very excited to announce this years special Memefest/ Swinburne University Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention and the first Memefest/Swinburne extradisciplinary symposium/workshop/direct action upcoming event.

The 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 will be invited to Melbourne- Australia and will take part in our in residence program.

The award winners are:

1. In the category Visual Communication Practice: Bernadette McGough, Kyle Anthony Magee; Daniel Chittick; David Murphy; Jordan Brown (Australia) for their work Global Liberal Media Please

Kyle Magee’s work, papering over advertisements in public places, takes the position that advertising colonises the public sphere and privatises what should be ours, and that it does so without our consent. He questions the right of commercial interests to take over what is rightly ours, democratically, and thus opens conversations about the dialogic nature of our public sphere.

Kyle’s fundamental argument for democratic engagement is strengthened in a profound way because Kyle’s practice not only intervenes in public space but does so publicly, in broad daylight. In this way he is able to create an intimate and open dialogue with bystanders, police and other media while undertaking his actions. He has spent six months in prison for what often amounts to less than one hundred dollars worth of damage. This has allowed him to also open a dialogue with the judiciary about what he is trying to do and they have, in many instances, been able to advise him on legal strategies because, despite having to punish him for his activism, they also sympathise with what he is trying to communicate. What does this say about the Australian media landscape, and what does it say about Australian democracy? Does one need to be arrested and jailed for bringing such issues to public attention? Kyle’s interventions are intimate, articulate and very brave. His interventions are complex, sophisticated, passionate and inspirational. We have seen a lot of culture jamming from around the word but this activism is truly imaginative. In times where advertising is becoming harder and harder to "touch" as it is less and less image, but more and more data, Kyle shows the power of the embodied dialogue.

This work opens many new and old questions - one thing is sure -in a rapidly changing media landscape in which transparency and trust will be the currencies of the future, advertising will have to change.

Kyle’s work has been beautifully and elegantly captured by Bernadette McGough, Daniel Chittick, David Murphy and Jordan Brown and this video made public is an intervention in itself. A fantastic initiative!


2. In the category Critical Writing: Mariano Mussi (Argentina) for his work Health and Art: a Dialogue of Provocation and Jane Naylor (Australia) for her work What’s in the name? SnackArt and The Ekphrastic agency

Mariano Mussi’s paper questions our understandings of the ontological underpinnings of art and health and asks us to question our assumptions about what we mean by these terms. If health is just an absence of disease, then what is art? What does art lack? And how can art be used to dislodge our assumptions about health? Conventional scientific thinking hinders the dialogue between art and health and the author argues that this needs to be overcome as the two are intrinsically linked. He says that “art and health are turned toward the same aperture, women’s and men’s infinite possibilities that appear on the horizon of their projects.” The award is given for the text’s daring and imaginative intervention into the relations between two powerful discourses and their strictly calibrated points of access to each other.


Jane Naylor’s work also calls into question the ontological status of art and questions art’s function as cultural capital. Her research has led her to a “near total rejection of the artworld, and a substitution of the very foundation of dialogue, words, with [her] own terminology and neologism, *Rt.” This manifests in her works SnackArt and The Ekphrastic Agency, which she writes about eloquently in her Memefest submission. Her work is a proposition for a possible working alternative. In the age of "the end of history",her approach is timely, relevant and subversive. What could be more imaginative than that?


3. Ren Fah and Anna Mitterer (Austria) for their work Lamentopos in the category Beyond...

It is hard to imagine something more intimate than mourning. But emotions as fundamental as those that we experience when we lose someone to whom we are close are difficult to articulate publicly. While emotions are the currency of emotional/cognitive capitalism, public expression of strong emotions such as pain and grief are mostly only welcome when mediated through spectacular media.

Lamentopos makes the profoundly intimate public while creating strong poetic situations which in turn amplify the loneliness of the act of mourning. A very beautiful, strong, poetic and intimate work!

Our warmest congratulations to all authors!!

Have a look at the festival outlines here: http://www.memefest.org/en/competition/intro/

And have a look at the main Friendly competition results here:



The upcoming event is a unique opportunity to work, study, play, research and create with an amazing and inspiring international group of critical thinkers, educators, researchers, activists and friends from design, media/communications, art, social science, humanities and the engaged community.

The event (18-25th November) will be a almost three day Symposium, 4 day workshop and one day public intervention. We have highly exceptional guests coming to Memefest from all over the world, some of the best communication designers, thinkers, activists and artists. We will also invite some of the best and most engaged students from different departments of Swinburne. We will work on media and communication/design projects that matter and relate them to this years theme Radical Intimacies: Dialogue in our Times and we will be working with Aboriginal groups to support their efforts. We will create/ design actual communications interventions and implement them in the city of Melbourne.

We will be located at Swinburne University in the Factory of the Future (Ground level AMDC building) Cnr of John Street and Burwood Road (453) Hawthorn. If you come with train get out at Glenferie station, which is in the middle of the Swinburne campus.

The Symposium dates are 18th, 19th and most of of the 20th of November. After that we go straight in to the workshop process. Public interventions/ direct action are planned for the 24th/25th.

We will start in the morning at 9.30 and end at cca 5 pm every day. Informal sessions will happen and social events will be arranged outside the regular schedule.

Read here participants/presenters bios here: http://tinyurl.com/mnd68rn


9.20 Registration & Welcome to Country

10.15 Introductions of participants

10.50 Sam Burch Dialogue in Decolonisation

11.30 Tom Liacas Dialogue and that sonofab*tch called Power

12.10 Tony Birch The unpredictable energy of action: Growing a Protest

12.50 Lunch

1.30 George Petelin, Oliver Vodeb, Alana Hunt and Sam Burch look in to last years Memefest Brisbane workshop/intervention and discuss this years theme: Radical Intimacies: Dialogue in our Times

2.10 Troy Innocent Revert. Renew. Remake. Playful strategies for recoding urban space

2.50 Kevin Yuen Kit Lo Material Cultures of Resistance: Visual Identity and Solidarity Networks

3.30 Alana Hunt “What if dialogue is fucked?” And I laughed with sudden clarity.

4.10 Break

4.30 Sandy Kaltenborn Design is Not Enough - Radical Intimacy and Other Misunderstandings

5.10 George Petelin Dialogue, Collaboration, and Antagonism: Alternatives for Activist Visual Practice

5.40 Fee Plumley A Return to Commons Sense

6.20 @ HADDONS CAFÉ Andrew Garton Launch of Book
GISWatch 2014 - Communications surveillance in the digital age

Association for Progressive Communications


Recipients of the Memefest/QCA 2013 Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention presentations

9.30 Ren Fah lamentopos (Austria)

10.00 Bernadette McGough, Kyle Anthony Magee; Daniel Chittick; David Murphy; Jordan Brown Global Liberal Media Please (Australia)

10.30 Mariano Mussi Health and Art: a Dialogue of Provocation (Argentina)

11.00 Jane Naylor (Australia) What’s in a name? Snack Art and The Ekphrastic Agency

11.30 Break

11.40 Grandmothers Against Removal (GMAR) Uncle Albert and Aunty Hazel

12.20 Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy Karen Fusi and others

1.00 Lunch

1.40 Keith Robertson Sh*t Design: an exploration of class and the aesthetic in design

2.20 Daniel Marcus From Online to on the Street: Making Public Expression Count

3.00 Lisa Gye Unsettled: History, Time, Space and Belonging

3.40 Break

4.10 Darren Tofts What if dialogue isn’t working? The vexatious case of Hanson Vs. Hanson

4.50 Oliver Vodeb Response-Ability: Extradisciplinary Critique. Radical Intimacies: Dialogue in our Times

18.00 Social envent/evening and BBQ at the Nevermind Bar


Presentation of student works created for Radical Intimacies: Dialogue in Our Times

9.30 Theresa Moso
9.45 Lucy Wells
10.00 Jessica Watson
10.15 Sara Leow

10.30 Ela Alispahic
10.45 Liora Caplan
11.00 Natana Mayer
11.15 Hillary Bruce

11.30 Saba Bebawi The Palestinian/Israeli Conflict: Spheres of Dialogue

12.10 Ray Cook Money Up Front and No Kissing

12.50 Lunch

13.50 Alan Hill Cooperative Images: Notes from an ongoing collaboration between a photo-documentarian and the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy

14.30 Melbourne and Victoria based members of Aboriginal networks/ presentation

15.10 Scott Townsend Recent projects- contexts and strategies

15.50 Group discussion and formation for workshops. Initial consultation with mentors


All days are reserved for the workshop and the direct actions in the public space of Melbourne. We will work in groups, together from 9.30- 5 pm. A more detailed schedule will be posted over the weekend.

The Symposium is open for all, the workshop is by invitation. Please register for the Symposium here:


See you next Tuesday 18. November at 9.15 in the Factory of the Future AMDC building, Swinburne University Hawthorne.

* Research partners of the event are Grififth Centre for Creative Arts Research, Swinburne Centre for Design Innovation and Victoria Institute for Education, Diversity and Lifelong Learning.


Dialogue is tirelessly presented as ‘the’ solution to the problems of ‘our’ times – in art, war, love, democracy and even in the workplace. In fact, dialogue has been central to the ethos of Memefest since its inception back in 2002. But what if dialogue is not working? We were convinced that an urgent fresh look, an updated reflection on the current states of dialogue in an increasingly anti- dialogic culture is very necessary.

Curated by Alana Hunt and Oliver Vodeb, RADICAL INTIMACIES: DIALOGUE IN OUR TIMES was the theme of this year’s Memefest. We were trying to ask a difficult question in order to honestly explore all the complicated failures and the hopeful potentialities that feed our faith in dialogue – politically, creatively, laboriously and intimately.

People from 26 Countries around the world have responded to our call and have been working on many of the challenging aspects of Dialogue. More than 250 works in the categories Visual communication practice, Critical writing and participatory art have been submitted to this years Friendly Competition.

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/works2014/ 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 ones who ranked among the best!

Our special Award for Imaginative Critical Intervention given in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne will be announced November 15th. We will invite and fly in one author from each category to Melbourne, Australia, to participate in an extradisciplinary workshop for a critical intervention in to the public space in Melbourne.

This is a great and important Festival year. We are investigating crucial things. A lot has been done and it is inspiring to see how many people from around the world are now already involved in the process of developing Socially responsive communication/design and art.

Although everyone appears to want to be in ‘dialogue’, real, radical intimacies are harder to create than ever. Collaborations as this show not only the beautiful power of dialogue but also its inevitability. Thanks again to eveyone who participated and is participating in this process!

With love, conflict and imagination, Memefest Kolektiv





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