Memefest 2014: Radical Intimacies
This year’s Memefest deals with a theme very close to my heart, and one that has been on my mind a lot lately; the abject failure of dialogue (or as Memefest founder Oliver Vodeb puts it, “what if dialogue is fucked?”.
Ever since I published my Graduate Certificate thesis back in 2002, through the work I do with Four Minutes to Midnight, and in how I’ve engaged with my studio practice, a dialogic approach has always been central to my work and belief system. It’s something I’ve consistently argued for as a model for social change work and as a visual design approach.
Within this span of time we have seen the reification of social media in our lives, identity/branding practices redefined as conversations and storytelling, connectivity and crowd-sourcing. On the flipside, within our social movements, we’ve witnessed the popularity and prevalence of Occupy-style organising (GAs, working groups, consensus, “non-violence”). Oftentimes, “dialogue” is expressed as an end goal in itself. Meanwhile it can be easily argued that the (western) psyche is more fragmented than ever, isolated and compartmentalised through all this dialogue, and genuine social solidarity seems harder and harder to build across movements. Not to mention the gross failures of dialogue at the geo-political level. Part of me would like to think, it is nothing more than a process of general commodification (because that’s enough to deal with!), but what if it’s something deeper, something intrinsic. Yes, what if dialogue is fucked? Where does that leave us?
The festival/friendly competition is open to all (students and non-students), with several categories for submissions: Visual Communication, Critical Writing, and Participatory Art (Beyond…). I will be curating/judging the Visual Communications category this year, and am really looking forward to seeing all the work submitted.
The deadline for submissions is September 20th! Learn more and submit your work here.
Issue 13 WIP
Things are coming along slowly, but surely, with the next issue (13) of Four Minutes to Midnight and I wanted to share some work in progress images. Alongside a much tighter conception of what we want to do with the issue, I’m very excited to announce that Howl Arts will be officially supporting the project with production and distribution. With this support, we’ve decided to print an offset run in colour for the first time ever! We also plan to engage the talents of local craft printers, and employ letterpress, silkscreen and risograph printing for covers and inserts.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Fugue, but we have big plans for the next issue of Four Minutes to Midnight, and we want you to be a part of it. We need your words.
The fugue is a cacophony of voices, brought together to express a common dissent and a common longing, on our own terms, and in new language.
The theme is, as always, where we’re at right now. In Montréal, that means a summer of love and revolution, a tired stereotype that nevertheless rings true. Red squares and cops everywhere, an unbearable heat, and the promise of more.
Please add your words in the comments thread below. The rules are simple, just read, write, and trust that meaning will emerge…
The last line from the last fugue:
“A flock of feathers fanning out the forest fire.”
“the tremble and treble,
and i kiss everything that is blue.”
Memefest 2012: Debt
My long-standing collaboration with Memefest continues as I was asked by Oliver Vodeb to create the visuals for this year’s festival on the very timely theme of Debt. We decided to take a poetic, slightly ambiguous approach, with many subtle references, reflecting our complex relationship (and resistance) to debt.
The critical text that grounds the festival is excerpted from David Graeber’s excellent book Debt: The First 5000 Years. From the call for submissions:
DEBT IS EVERYWHERE.
It shapes our lives and defines our world.
Debt takes power from the people and places it in the hands of bankers and experts.
It wasn’t always this way.
Can we imagine a different relationship to debt?
Promiscuous Infrastructures Phase 2: Call for Submissions
As part of its project entitled Promiscuous Infrastructures, the Artivistic collective invites submissions for the second phase of the project, which will take place from March 9 to April 14, 2012, at Skol, an artist-run centre in Montréal.
What Artivistic is up to
Artivistic is currently in the research-creation phase of a publication tentatively entitled Promiscuous Infrastructures: experiments in art + information + activism. Rooted in the work of Artivistic’s friends, allies, and past participants, the publication sets its sights on “autonomous infrastructures” by looking at radical education & the production of knowledge, intergenerational support systems, as well as sustainable financing.
For Phase 2, we will set up a temporary printing workshop at Skol. This intervention is meant to collectively visualize our concern, obsession perhaps, with what lies behind art, activism and knowledge production: (1) the ways in which we relate to each other, (2) organise to work together, and (3) the conditions in which things are being done. In other words, we are asking:
How do we build value in affective relationships?
How do we organise for that (models, processes, strategies)?
How do we in turn outstretch these in the long-term?
CUTV features Imaging Apartheid
Our project Imaging Apartheid is featured in this week’s Arts and Culture show on CUTV. Also in this episode a great feature on Concordia’s Co-op Bookstore and some amazing and inspiring footage from the revolution happening in Egypt.
Thanks CUTV! I really need to learn to speak slower on camera!
Memefest 2011: Love/Conflict/Imagination
Happy New Year!!! Memefest is an amazing organisation/event/friendly competition that I’ve been partnered with for many years. Based in Slovenia, with nodes spread out internationally (remarkably and importantly, outside of traditional centres of “power”), Memefest explores the boundaries of communication practice, pushing for radical approaches that operate outside of the conventional/commercial/advertising model.
Imaging Apartheid Project Launch
Imaging Apartheid, a project I’ve been working on for the last few months is getting set to launch this Wednesday evening at Casa del Popolo. Despite my long-standing beliefs on the issue (and on the implicit ideological implications), taking a vocal stand on this; by calling apartheid apartheid and working actively for the cause of Palestinian liberation, is not an easy position for me to take. Which in my mind, makes it all the more important to do so now, clearly, firmly, and lucidly.
The eleventh issue of Four Minutes to Midnight will represent a dramatic change in format, an hors-série as it were, featuring the work of American poet F.A. Nettelbeck and Montréal visual artist Sophie Jodoin. I’m very excited and honoured to be working with such talented artists on this issue, and am happy to say we actually have a real editor/production manager on board this time around too. It’s going to be beautiful…
The issue itself will be split into two booklets. The main booklet will feature F.A. and Sophie in all their glory, and the other booklet will consist of the Fugue (XI) that we’re starting here. For those that are unfamiliar, the typographic fugue is a collaboratively written “poem” loosely inspired by the exquisite corpse surrealist technique. It’s our goal to use this approach to find/create a resonant/dissonant collective voice, marked in time, and through type.
So, to start it off:
“a stranger’s borrowed words…”