Memefest International Festival of Socially Responsive Communication and Art 2014

Friendly Competition Brief
Dialogue is tirelessly presented as ‘the’ solution to the problems of ‘our’ times – in art, design, war, love, democracy and even in the workplace! But what if dialogue is not working?
Memefest invites you to submit your critical interventions on the theme RADICAL INTIMACIES: DIALOGUE IN OUR TIMES.
We’re asking for honest explorations of the complicated failures and the hopeful potentialities that feed our faith in dialogue – politically, creatively, laboriously and intimately.
Friendly competition categories: Visual communication practice, Critical writing and Participatory art.
Our curatorial and editorial board of distinguished critical thinkers, educators, researchers, activists and professionals, will evaluate your works. Authors of selected works will be awarded with the Memefest/Swinburne Award for Imaginative Critical Interventions.
Read the whole brief at:
Deadline for submissions: 20th September 2014
The international editorial and curatorial board will select the most convincing works. Alongside Memefest’s existing awards, which you can see on, we are introducing two new awards this year!

1) The first Memefest / Swinburne University Award for Critical Imaginative Intervention. The best authors of works in all three categories (critical writing, visual communication practice and Beyond…) will be invited to Melbourne to take part in a special extradisciplinary workshop resulting in a public intervention in the city of Melbourne!

2) Authors of best works in the category, critical writing, will be invited to publish their work in a book published by Memefest and Intellect books in a special new book series!
Memefest Curatorial and editorial board
The curatorial and editorial board consists of distinguished critical thinkers, educators, researchers, activists and professionals. Memefest works with leading, cutting edge thinkers and practitioners that are at the forefront of innovation and change in their disciplines and are known for their integrity and ground-breaking work.
This years members include Electronic Disturbance Theatre founder, former Critical Art Ensamble member and associate professor at the University of California, San Diego Ricardo Dominguez, communication design legend, Grapus and Nous Travaillons Ensemble member/ founder and professor in visual communication at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee in Berlin Alex Jordan, leading online reputation strategist and former Adbusters campaign manager Tom Liacas, typography virtuoso Four Minutes to Midnight zine publisher Kevin Yuen Kit Lo and cultural critic and Swinburne University professor Darren Tofts.

Memefest/Swinburne Award for Imaginative Critical Interventions
Curated by Oliver Vodeb and Lisa Gye 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 can emancipate and lead to transformation through intervention. Such interventions can take many forms. They create a rupture in the order of things and redefine the relationships 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, which is an active position of engagement and the quality to transformatively act in situations, insisting that what matters are the human implications and not only the market implications of situations.
The award was given in 2012 and 2013 and is given this year for the first time together with Swinburne University of Technology.
November Memefest event in Melbourne: Symposium/Extradisciplinary Workshop/ Intervention
The special international event is designed as a one- day symposium, four day workshop and two day intervention in the public space of Melbourne. 
The event will also feature Swinburne students whose submitted works have been curated in this year’s competition and members of the local Melbourne community who have submitted works or are involved in Memefest or initiatives concerned with social and environmental change.
The event will enable direct interdisciplinary collaboration with Swinburne academics Lisa Gye and Dr Oliver Vodeb, together with all three recipients of the Memefest/ Swinburne Award, and other mentors from different areas of the Swinburne Faculty for Health Arts Humanities and Design as well as with local and national experts and activists engaged in social and environmental change through Dialogue. The intensive extradisciplinary workshop will take place between November 18th and November 26th.

As well as the international recipients of the Memefest/Swinburne award we will also invite:

I. Swinburne students whose submitted works have been curated in this year’s Friendly competition;

II. Members of local Melbourne communities who have submitted works that we liked a lot or are/have been involved in non institutionalised Memefest related activities;

The Workshop will take place at Swinburne University of Technology and other places in Melbourne. We will work on further extradisciplinary interrogations of this year’s festival theme – RADICAL INTIMACIES: DIALOGUE IN OUR TIMES, with the aim to critically intervene in Melbourne’s public space.
Some Facts about Memefest Festival
The Festival of Socially Responsive communication and Art nurtures and rewards innovative and socially responsible approaches to communication. From its start in 2002 Memefest has connected people from more than sixty countries and has established a new international scene engaged in Socially responsive communication and art. Memefest is closely collaborating with people, networks, institutions like universities and research centres, social movements like Occupy or autonomous groups like the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy.
Each year, Memefest singles out a text and/or image that serve as a focal point for a critical take on the current designed media and communication environment. In order to enable creative approaches based on various interdisciplinary, practical, and theoretical perspectives, participation is invited in different categories.
The friendly competition has three main divisions:Visual communication practice, Critical writing and Beyond....(participatory art for social and environmental change)  It is open to anyone who wants to participate. Any student, professional, artist, activist, writer, designer, malcontent, educator or media manipulator can enter. There is no age restriction and participation of free of charge.
Memefest Festival addresses cutting edge themes that are at the core of the current and future developments of design, communication, media, society and the environment, many times for the first time. Last four themes were Radical Beauty (2008), Love, Conflict, Imagination (2010/2011), Debt (2012) and Food Democracy (2013). The festival creates a unique research dynamic as it addresses a particular theme interdisciplinary, through theory and practice, through an international perspective and through the lens of communication design, art and critical social theory.
Depending on the theme Memefest Festival receives from 250 to 550 works from 25-35 countries each year. Memefest has developed a unique peer refereed public editorial and curatorial system. Works include written contextual articulations by participants and special commentaries by Memefest’s curators and editors. This interdisciplinary and extradisciplinary contextual, public, and dialogic approach to analyse and evaluate communication design and art is unique to Memefest. It shifts the focus beyond the image and towards communication. Memefest’s evaluation process is dialogic. It is public and educational. It is much more formative than selective. There are no stars (but good communicators, artists, thinkers, writers and researchers) at Memefest and the whole process is open to critique and is inclusive instead of exclusive. The community as a whole contributes and everyone benefits. This is why the festival process is called friendly competition.
Memefest’s unique network based culture focussed on progressive academic cultures, social movements and subversive initiatives allows it to have insight in cultural developments before they get coopted and standardised by the mainstream. Memefest value framework is based on integrity, collaboration, dialogue, innovation, sustainability and transformative social and environmental politics. The editorial and curatorial board- as part of Memefest’s network- is composed of distinguished educators, designers, communicators, artists, media activists, researchers, educators, theoreticians and professionals from the spheres of design, social sciences, humanities, fine arts, photography, education and art theory. Past collaborators and members of the editorial and curatorial board include: media and advertising theorist and original author of the Media Virus concept Douglas Rushkoff, original author of Smart Mobs concept and new media thinker Howard Rheingold, Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis cofounder Rastko Mocnik, Leading surveillance studies scholar Mark Andrejevic, design philosopher Tony Fry, design theorist Cameron Tonkinwise, radical graphic designers Sandy Kaltenborn, Tony Credland, Kevin Lo and Jason Grant, new media philosopher and key theorist behind the concept of Tactical Media Geert Lovink and leading art and cultural critic and activist Brian Holmes.

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