Slovenian-based festival fostering “radical communication”

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This year marks the seventh anniversary of Memefest, a "festival of radical communication," based in Slovenia which is encouraging students, professionals, artists and activists alike to contribute to the collective counter-culture. Radio Slovenia International’s Ivana Pristavec reports.

Almost sixty countries applied to Memefest in the past six years. Their work was exhibited around the world. The regular competition has three main divisions: Communications Studies, Sociology and Visual Arts and is open to undergraduate and graduate students but any artist, activist or media manipulator can enter and compete in one of the categories available. The idea of this festival started in Slovenia but currently it has five global sibling groups in operation, which include the Memefest Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Balkan and Spain. Oliver Vodeb the founder and facilitator of the festival explains what the main goal of this festival is:

“In general communication practices that we are facing in our everyday lives are driven by commercial ideology, advertising ideology and the problem with the public sphere is that those communication approaches are very hurtful to the basic idea of the public sphere which is supposed to be an open, democratic and ideological place. What we wanted to achieve is to give people who would like to create different communication approaches a specific environment where they could connect to each other, where they could express themselves and where they would get some feedback from experts around the world who are leading in the field of radical or socially responsive communication.”

The theme for this year's festival is Radical Beauty. The idea is to look into unconventional beauty and use it for creation of social action for grassroots initiatives. Oliver Vodeb explains why this year's fest is all about beauty:

“For the first time we really wanted to focus on aesthetics of communication. We are very aware that focusing only on the aesthetics is highly problematical, for example how the whole design and advertising discourse works, not only in the industry but also within the universities. So with radical beauty we are combining aesthetics with content and process of communication and all together actually is for us radical beauty. Within the process of communication we want to achieve a genuine dialogue, a connection between people, because the current media environment and communication practices are not bringing people together, they are dividing them.”