Food. Our closest relationship with nature. When we started to research this years theme FOOD DEMOCRACY it was almost impossible to imagine how far reaching it is. How very fundamental to our existence, our relationship to nature, to each other and to our selves it is.

The Food System is designed to serve a tiny minority of food producing corporations backed by copyright regimes. It serves distributors of food that usually travels around the globe before it gets on our plate. And it serves the industry of representation that creates a superficially designed world of designed food.

Our eating habits support a toxic food culture and the media together with specific communication practices institutionalize power relations fundamental to the food system.

Food creates social relations. It is the perfect medium for close, intimate and ethical relations. But as we can see it is also the perfect medium for instrumental relations based on manipulation, hyper consumerism, designed simulatioon and profit.

In our Festival outlines we asked: So what can Communication and Art do in order to contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY? We have to realize 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 delusions of dominant communication practices.

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 and art today? How can we contribute to FOOD DEMOCRACY and what are the specifics of socially responsive communication and art in relation to it?

Your responses are here. Contributions to our process from 25 Countries show a incredible range of approaches. Most of the works are culturally specific approaches, although in many we can see parallels and the proof how global the problems we are facing are. Works range from strategies addressing cultural priorities, to community building projects, to photo documentary essays about food consumption, to an interactive project that parallels the five stages of sleep with an obsession to junk food and zines that help students living in shared houses interact with food in more holistic and positive manner.. From eco-feminist theoretical approaches to essays about flowers as food and food distribution systems... visual concepts of an honest supermarket and explorations on why people find vegetarians more attractive (in Australia) or what is the relation between corn and war.

This is the first global investigation of FOOD DEMOCRACY from the perspective of communication/design and one of the rare ones from the perspective of Art- and here at Memefest we are speaking about something very specific, namely participatory art ideally as an extradisciplinary practice.

The works sent to Memefest show this year again proof of a strong international network engaged into Socially Responsive Communication and Art. This, of course, is fantastic.

We are also very happy to see a revitalized node in our network coming from Colombia- interesting visual approaches and one of the strongest texts we received in the category Critical Writing comes from there and to see the amount of work done in this part of the world for this theme and in relation to Memefest is highly inspiring.

We are also very happy to see strong activity in United Arab Emirates and all over Australia. Besides Queensland College of Art, University of Ballart and University of Technology Sydney, both submitted high quality works, some of them ranking among the very best.

Big congratulations to everyone that submitted their works. But most of all and especially to the authors of the curated and edited ones. Our unique dialogic curatorial and editorial process does not define winners but a range of works that have been recognized as the best. So...here they are... we are excited to announce and present them:

In order to analyze the works read the descriptions and check the presented works together with personal data of the authors. Read our written curatorial and editorial feedback in relation to the background of the curators and editors. Feedback is in English, Spanish and Serbian language. As our process is public, you are warmly invited to give feedback to the works and contribute to an extended dialogue. This input from your side is highly important!

So what comes next? This are our main festival results, but more is to come and what comes is important. On August 10th the receivers of the Memefest/Queensland College of Art Awards will be announced. On August 25th the receiver of the special Zdravko Papič award will be announced. Our new book on the theme DEBT/Communication and Art will be published in October, around that time a special Memefest issue of the peer reviewed Journal Zoontechnica will be published too. And a special event including a public intervention will be held in late November in Brisbane. Keep on checking this space for all that comes next.

This year the festival outcomes are particularly strong. This is thanks to everyone who contributed to the dialogue around FOOD DEMOCRACY/Communication and Art and thanks to the many friends, comrades, collaborators, supporters that keep on putting their time and efforts and energies in to this and helping us make Memefest Festival the best and biggest project of its kind. Thank you Claudia Jurado for your collaboration in Colombia at University Caldas and Andina, Ben Mangan for your collaboration at University Ballarat, Zoe Sadokierski for your collaboration at University of Technology Sydney and Alan Hill from QCA for your collaboration in bringing in to the process a stronger photo journalistic presence. A big thank you goes to the members of our editorial and curatorial board, we are happy to work with the best ones.

Rock'n Roll and with Love Conflict and Imagination-
Oliver and Memefest Kolektiv


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