Memefest.org is an online platform for publishing content relating to media, visual communication and art, with works often questioning the established models and aims of visual communication. The pieces vary in medium – some of them being critical texts and some actual works of critical graphic design. They are created mainly for the annual Memefest festival and brought together by a theme the festival introduces every year.
The community founded by a group of students in Slovenia (now based both in Slovenia and Australia) connects people from all around the world to engage critically in the realm of visual communication and art and to go beyond the commercial or capitalistic advertising communication. As they state on their website, they are interested in. ‘Socially responsive communication’, which ‘works towards dialogue or establishes conditions for dialogue.’* They argue that advertising is frequently used to benefit the private interests while harming the interests/needs of wider society.** Perhaps to give visual artists and graphic designers more freedom and a chance to present pieces useful to the wide society or commentary on public issues, they provide a server, a network, a festival and occasional events.
Memefest stores the works submitted to their festival online (with a small number of occasional offline exhibitions) to create an online database. It also creates a complex website for its community featuring ‘memnews’, ‘memeblog’, and ‘memetv’. Similarly, there is also a webpage and a lot of subsites for the festival. The amount of subsites, however, is perhaps a too big, making the platform a little difficult to browse. The activity on the page is also a bit confusing – the dealine to submit your work for the festival is September 2016. The blog, however, is more lively, with three articles submitted in 2018. Still, I would like to see more activity on the blog, with the topic being this urgent and current and with the website being so diverse – you can literally participate with work of any kind of medium.
Overall, Memefest still provides a diverse commentary on advertising communication, and offers a collection of works, which respond to social needs or spark important discussions and thus Memefest refreshes (or maybe even vitalizes) the every day job of a graphic designer in service of advertisement.