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Friendly Competition Results will be Announced November 5th!

Dear community, dear comrades and friends. We have initially announced that results of this years Memefest Friendly competition will be known last week in October. As much as we are working hard on the process, we will have to extend the date till November 5th.

Your response was overwhelming. We have received more than 250 submissions from 26 countries on the highly complex and difficult theme and there is lots of work to be done. We would like to ensure that the works get the best possible feedback and that the curatorial and editorial process is as thorough as possible. We know you are waiting in anticipation to see the results (we are too!) but we hope you understand - and are asking you for a bit patience.

So till than. But there is one more thing. The preparations for the Melbourne event in November are going really really well. Very soon we will tell you more!

RADICAL INTIMACIES: DIALOGUE IN OUR TIMES: Friendly Competition Deadline Closed!

We are very excited to have received inspiring works from around the world to this years Friendly competition!

The theme RADICAL INTIMACIES: DIALOGUE IN OUR TIMES has triggered a lot of creative energy and work. It was and is a highly interesting journey for us too.
Dialogue is at the very core of socially responsive communication and art. But how does dialogue work today, what is its place in design, media and society? While communication aims to come close to an audience, intimacies are almost never created. To us dialogue and intimacies are tightly connected. How can we than think and practice radical intimacies and design related communication, situations, media? And how can we create art that establishes intimate relations?

The cca 250 works from 26 Countires are at the second look a deep interrogation in to this years festival theme. Many of them are strong, inspiring, daring and inspiring. What is especially interesting and valuable is that some authors have addressed this years friendly competition outlines in relation to some of our past themes- like 'Food democracy" or 'Debt' or 'Love/Conflict/Imagination'- things indeed are connected. We cant wait to study your submissions more!

Now the internal process begins: first we need to make sure all works are submitted properly. After that a short list will be curated. Than this selection will be curated again by the Memefest Friendly competition curators and editors. They will take three weeks time to evaluation and best works will get special written feedback. The results of this public (meta) curatorial approach will be published here online for anyone to reed. Of course there will be feedback opportunity for everyone and especially this is something we will encourage. But we'll talk more about this process later.

So when will we publish results? You need to know that this process of evaluation is highly important to us. Thorough evaluation takes time and effort.
Our curators and editors will have two weeks time and given the preselection process all together will take more than three weeks of work.

Results will be published on the 20th of October and the curated works known. Than we will also announce the three recipients of the Memefest/Swinburne award for Imaginative Critical Intervention who will be invited to take part in the special extradisciplinary workshop/intervention in Melbourne, November 18-25th at Swinburne University. This will be the next major event and one we are very excited about. We have fantastic things to announce and will write more about this soon.

For now let's get back to work. We are excited to see and read your submissions.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted works - It is important! In this way you all are contributing to the process of research, theory and practice of Socially Responsive Communication and Art. It is crucial that we work together on this. We have come a long way already.

More soon!

Deadline Extended! Artists, Critical Writers and Communication Design Interventionists- 5 More Days to go!

Well, well... how great to see inspiring works from around the globe being submitted to this years Memefest Friendly Competition!

Many of you have asked for a bit more time- and we are listening. We want everyone to have a chance to participate in our global dialogue on the current states of dialogue, therefore we extend the deadline for FIVE more days. The last deadline is Thursday 25th of September 2014.


Invitation to special extradisciplinary workshop in Melbourne Australia at Swinburne University.

Invitation to publish your text in a special edition book published with Intellect books UK, and other.

Check more about the Awards for yourself:


And here again our friendly competition outlines:


Submit your work here:


This is it- lets do it! ;)

Contacts : the little mean sexy book that gives you what Facebook friends never can

First I thought it was Luther Blisset, than I was sure it was Banksy, ...but it wasn't him. Who was it? Like Justin Bieber It is mean, little and sexy- the new book 'Contacts'.

In the words of the secret author: "85 times 45 millimeters of power. Business cards are status objects that serve the identification with a particular corporation and that frequently portray hierarchies too. A long time ago, they served the purpose of visitors’ cards. One gave them to the footman who in turn
passed them on to the lord of the manor. In Japan they are presented
with a dignified bow until today.

The more business cards, the more contacts – and good connections.
“Connections only hurt those who don’t have them,” is an old
saying. During the Middle Ages, there were orders, later guilds and
student associations. Today you have trade unions, professional organizations,
social networking services like Xing, Facebook or LinkedIn.
The right connections are career accelerators and door openers. And
those doors often remain closed without those connections – especially
in the cultural, arts and media sectors.

With this book we aim to help our reader to establish and cultivate
those connections. These business cards were compiled during
about ten years of excessive networking and they present a selection
of the most important multipliers. Knowledge is power and the
knowledge pertaining to those connections is thus closely guarded. I
am, however, utterly convinced that free access to such information
can be of advantage for everyone.

This book is an art project, a political statement, a crank call template
– the perfect gift. It depends on your perspective and the way you
intend to use it. Remember to nurture your connections, don’t become
spammers! The most important rules are: don’t compose any
mass mailings, address every person individually and don’t misspell
their name. You are missing the appropriate contact person? Email
address are always created in the same pattern – if you know one
address, you know them all.

Some of the contacts are quite possibly not up to date any longer,
others will surely be out of date soon. So, it is up to you to help update
the next editions! Scan your best business cards and send them
to: contacts@internationalneighborhood.net. In return and as a thank
you, you will get the next edition for free."

Get your copy of the book here: http://www.international-neighborhood.de/books/contacts/

How Can we Think and Practice Dialogue Today?

Dialogue is the crucial form of communication. It makes us able to communicate beyond differences and create common worlds. It puts the individual as well as the community in the centre of attention.

Dialogue is now important more than ever. But what has became of dialogue today? What influences most of the intimacy we are capable to create? What if we are witnessing a new phase of communication? And what if we could re-think how to approach dialogue today, with all it's difficulties and potentials because we still think that dialogue is the crucial form of communication and we still believe in its unmatched potential? How can we than design dialogue that would work?

Read more about the festival’s outlines here: http://tinyurl.com/pddzgsp or go directly to the category that interests you the most and check them out here:

Visual Communication practice: http://tinyurl.com/o6zg7ap ,

Critical Writing: http://tinyurl.com/m4lvo4w

and the participatory art/communication category 'Beyond...': http://tinyurl.com/khnqls3

And check our special Awards here:


Deadline for Submission of your works is September 20th 2014!

Memefest Online Social Network: A Dialogue on Present State and Future Strategies

Few weeks ago I posted this on my community board here at Memefest and there was some response, and a short discussion:

"Four years ago,

when we created this online platform with our social network, it was designed as an alternative to Facebook.

No data mining, no commercial advertising, no fake likes, no fake profiles, no surveillance. It is still fascinating for me how many of the people that agree on the argument that FB is very problematic still post on FB- very regularly. When I talk to my friends, usually the argument goes like this: "You are right, FB is very problematic, BUT it is very convenient and because everyone is there I can reach all of my friends easily."

Well, you thought so..


fake likes, global click farms and enforced scarcity of visibility...
acebook's twisted like machine."

These were some of the comments:

3 months ago

I am more and more happy that I never had facebook and honestly hope that more people will realize these facts.I just got back from "DIY" festival in Moscow and every and none of those "anarchists" could believe that Idont have my account...sad

1 month, 4 weeks ago

First of all I completely agree that Facebook is highly problematic - you could argue this has been the case since its release. I think the key problem is not Facebook itself, but the users' flawed perception of what it really is. There seems to have been these kind of expectations of a social network mirroring life with altruistic noble intentions (very understandable as this is how Facebook continues to market itself to some degree). If people stopped using Facebook as a 1:1 digital rendering of analog life, and instead as a flawed fun disjointed digital tool, I think the money-making would come to a sudden end (no useful data to mine and highly difficult targeted marketing). Thus, Facebook would decline into what it essentially is: An imperfect tool that is useful for certain things.

1 month, 3 weeks ago
Oliver- we need to propose a different solution!

1 month, 3 weeks ago
Scott, what do you mean? What do you have in mind?

We are right now starting to work on redesigning the web site and we are discussing how to improve the social network infra/structure/culture that we built here on memefest.org. Wanna get involved?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

Soeren, I think FB feeds on the big pressure to represent and be represented. The reasons for that are many and we do have a pretty paradoxical situation. On one hand peoples awareness of abuse: surveillance, monitoring, data mining etc is bigger than ever, but cultural patterns in terms of technology use are going more and more in the opposite direction one would think aware people would be driving them. I use FB mainly as a source for interesting content that people in my network post. I wonder why such an exchange could not happen more on independent platforms like this one. But here the dialogue could be nurtured as the amount of communication would be less, better and more focused.

1 month, 3 weeks ago
Yep- would love to talk more about that-

1 month, 3 weeks ago
I think it's time- been working in Chicago- let's talk soon-

2 weeks, 2 days ago

Oliver, your selective use of fb is exactly what I meant, as it seems that you clearly view it as one, deeply flawed yet popular, social network rather than THE ultimate, awesome solution to how we could engage socially online. Instead of the one-way manipulation we recently learnt is happening on massive scale with the positive/negative feed experiments, I would love to see people experimenting themselves with manipulating fb. Everyone is there across age, religion, gender, culture etc. That's such a strong argument for using it. But why not define your use? (from fb’s POV: misuse it)? Data-mining is only as good as the data being mined. The pressure of representing and being represented can easily be switched to a game of playful subversion. I still remember the first time I saw a friend with a made-up name, so simple and yet liberating when viewed in the context of "faithful" amped up real life representations. This is not to say that I disagree with the value of other platforms - this is absolutely crucial. (Sidenote: I believe anyone should try designing a social network. No matter how small or simple, the process confronts you with fundamental choices that “matured” popular networks such as fb have successfully bypassed to a degree that we have difficulties imagining any successful alternatives).

I think our main challenge is to revert fb back to what it is: An online social network that doesn't necessarily has anything to do with real life. Stripped of any content we’re basically looking at an empty frame that we can tweak and bend through our content and interaction and playful subversion. Fb’s popularity makes it a center stage for this kind of negotiation. The slow shift we see with dropping popularity among youth in Western countries is countered with growth among the elderly and expansion across development countries etc. Whereas it seems tempting to flee the ship, I hope that critical users will not only go elsewhere but also stay and obfuscate the ultimate “value” of fb: its useful, digestible, rational, exploitable, marketable content.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

the playful appropriation and subversion of FB is something i like, but so far - at least among my FB friends, I haven't seen much of it and there is many critically minded persons in my FB network data mining is only as good as the data you said- this is wonderful. But the problem is that very very few people have the awareness of the business models of FB and similar technologies and how this relates to their data and their privacy, freedom, social relations and and much more... The latest revelations of FB' manipulation are fascinating, but still, I cant see much of a change in peoples behaviour. Having said all this- I agree very much with what you wrote and I think there is possibilities to intervene in FB, but they will be difficult to put in to practice on a larger scale.

What I also really like is this: (Sidenote: I believe anyone should try designing a social network. No matter how small or simple, the process confronts you with fundamental choices that “matured” popular networks such as FB have successfully bypassed to a degree that we have difficulties imagining any successful alternatives).

I have been following Diaspora for a while but have not been checking it for a while.
Is there any other alternative networks you know off? I don’t know of them- at least not in the sense of being open for people to join and without intentional data mining and commercial advertising...

Than after some time Scott (http://www.memefest.org/en/profile/Sttwn/) wrote to Oliver in an email:

I got back from my trip and have been enjoying just working on one thing at a time, but wanted to start a conversation about ideas re Memefest and etc.

I don't know all of the issues that you have dealt with regarding the site and the activities of Memefest, but there are a couple broad ideas that I'd consider re any kind of Memefest 2.0 including the ongoing online platform:

There may be a way to really push further local contexts and exchange of information broadly.

Part of the issue would be to think through what kinds of 'information' can be shared: at this point most of the discussions are sharing information and ideas critically within the blog platform. Making comments and sharing topic areas is important, but could the online platform do more to develop and support other kinds of interactions between users?

Basically, what I am proposing is to look at many current user needs in a user's particular context where they are practicing, and generate new ideas in relationship to supporting and linking social activism. So first a kind of evaluation- then an inventory of things and how Memefest could develop additional programming to help assist activists- which might include these issues:

~is the current online and print-based information of user's 'work' (ie the recently published books + online platform) targeted on the right readers and constituency? Other than sharing and expanding the network of individuals in the Collective, would greater media coverage or some kind of connection to research help them in dealing with their own particular activism?

~how would dissemination and engagement with other institutions be created and what level of writing and presentation would assist in validating the Memefest activities?


For particular users, how can sharing/teaching/resourcing be rethought (the blog format has it's limits obviously here &~if that is the case, you may have some sources to supply grants through 'distanced learning' ), for example:

~is there a way to dig down into sharing techniques of activism/methods of design comparatively?

~what kind of open source 'tools' or techniques can be shared in the website or accessed outside of it- can the site become a kind of online teaching platform, used in real-time with archiving? Can there be a shorter term cycle of some of the programming (an activity every week for example online), that would make Memefest more of a regularized activity for the users- getting people connected and motivated is often about predictable daily routines and expectations...


Now, we had discussions about Facebook, other social networks and the Memefest social network over email and in personal meetings for quite a while. The discussions were not structured or really focused but it seems a good time to structure and focus them more now.

Together with the corespondence above, a good starting point for our discussion might be this:

The article “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks”, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows a large data set experiment that proved potential mass scale manipulation of FB users’ emotions by changing certain data the users were exposed to.

Here’s an abstract of the article:

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

And here’s the full text: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full

Some of the close friends and comrades and Memefest collaborators will be invited to discuss what to do with our Memefest social network, to reflect on it, to think how and what could be done in the future with it and see if there are ways to start using it more often and in a more active way with the involvement of the broader Memefest online network (currently cca 1500 user accounts). We thought its good to do it here- so it is public, rather via closed emails, as in this way anyone can join and participate. So, anyone who wants to contribute to this dialogue- you are warmly invited. The main argument still is- We need autnonomous online social networks. Let's see what happens.


El DIALOGO es recurrentemente presentado como “la solución” para los problemas de nuestro tiempo: en el arte, la guerra, el amor, la democracia e, inclusive, en el lugar de trabajo. En efecto, el diálogo ha sido el ethos central del Memefest, desde su nacimiento en 2002. Pero: Y si el diálogo no funcionara?

INTIMIDAD RADICAL: EL DIÁLOGO EN NUESTRO TIEMPO, es el tema del Memefest de este año. Estamos intentado plantear una pregunta difícil con la intención de explorar, seriamente, todas las complicadas fallas, así como las esperanzadoras potencialidades que alimentan nuestra fe en el diálogo- en la política, el trabajo, la creatividad y la intimidad.

Responde a esta propuesta del Memefest 2014 Friendly Competition. Échale un vistazo a las bases aquí http://www.memefest.org/en/competition/intro/ .

Podés enviar tu trabajo en las categorías: Comunicación visual, Narrativa crítica y “Beyond”.

Se recibirán trabajos hasta el 20 de septiembre de 2014. La participación es libre y gratuita y sin restricciones de dad u otro tipo.

Difundiremos más información. Ahora es tu turno.

Alana, Oliver & Memefest Kolektiv

Translated by Mariano Mussi: http://www.memefest.org/en/profile/mascaro/





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): www.poper.si

CV (sort of): http://www.memefest.org/en/about/who_we_are_oliver_vodeb/

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

poper.si, memefest.org, magnumphotos.com, mubi.com, ubu.com, http://twotheories.blogspot.com, brianholmes.wordpress.com, www.lensculture.com, www.burnmagazine.org, www.bagnewsnotes.com, www.cactusnetwork.org.uk, http://www.image-shift.net, www.inkahoots.com.au/

People I like

My dear family and my wonderful friends.