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.



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