a while back, a friend of my sister’s that i’d never met emailed me — she asked if she could make a short film about what i do, so she could enter it into something called ‘memefest’ as part of her uni assessment.
she said it was a university organised conference thing, that there was no for-profit organisations involved in the thing, that it was a pretty ‘radical’, ‘activist’ey thing, and also that i could use the film for my own purposes — so i said ‘yeah sounds good’ and we planned to meet and talk about it further.
we then met at my local lebanese bakery, but there were two other guys there and it turned out that what i thought was a discussion about making a film was in fact the day they had planned to shoot the interview — so i just did the interview that day, said any footage from this site could be used, and shortly after this film was produced and submitted to memefest:
the film is now also on the about page of this website, as it is a good introduction to what i do and why — thanks bernadette
the film ended up winning the audio visual category of the memefest competition (the prize being a flight to melbourne for the creator(s), lol), so as i result i was told i was supposed to go, presumably to perform some undisclosed function.
here is the write up of the different category winners of memefest:
so i decided i would go along, even though i was a bit suspicious of this university-funded ‘memefest’, and questioned the very idea that ‘memes’ (tiny snippets of manipulative propaganda material, akin to the techniques of advertisers) were the best way, or any kind of effective way to build the solid foundations of critical understanding required for a stable, sane society.
apparently i was now a meme, but i should be very happy because i was a winning meme, haha.
it was funny that at memefest, what i’m doing, what i feel completely compelled to do with my life, was referred to as an “initiative” — like it is just some ‘idea’ that i was trying out, not something that is completely essential to who i am and how i survive.
it turns out that ‘memfest’ was originally held in slovenia (the founder oliver being slovenian), organised outside of institutions, and has only been funded by universities recently — as oliver works lectures at the university was able to get a good venue and funding without losing control of the ‘festival of socially responsive communication and art’.
my involvement was just having a quick question and answer session after the film was shown, which wasn’t too bad despite my discomfort with public speaking.
while some of the presentations were wanky academic loads of shit, most of the presentations were good — there was a lot of indigenous involvement, with the brisbane aboriginal sovereign embassy (base) and grandmothers against removals (gmar) giving presentations — i was also glad for the many times the indigenous participants questioned the real-life applications of the many academic flights of wankery.
the gmar presentation was particularly heart-wrenching, the stories aunty hazel and uncle albert told of continued child removals were extremely upsetting and exactly the sort of stories our media system denies a voice to, the sort that really need to be heard by all ‘australians’.
the indigenous involvement gave the projects phase of the workshop a solid focus — amongst other projects planned was a video of aunty hazel explaining the continued trauma being inflicted upon indigenous communities as they struggle with the generational trauma of centuries of colonisation (the genocidal and assimilationist policies of a governement intent on destroying indigenous culture and taking the land from underneath it).
i’ll post the video of aunty hazel when it is available.
overall the ‘memefest’ was good, i’m glad it exists, and despite the personal problem i have with fighting memetic capitalist culture with the memetics of emancipation and decolonisation (too much deign/comms, not enough action), i’m glad people are getting together and taking about such things — i just hope everyone concerned with such issues soon comes to the conclusion that desperate times call for desperate measures, and that everything we are legally allowed to do is woefully inadequate.
the whole event was rather strange for me, because many people immediately understood what i am on about and thought what i am doing is great — which was quite different to the reaction i usually get — and it was great to meet a bunch of switched-on and compassionate people.