`Weapons of Mass Instruction: Memetic Engineering and Directed Biocultural Evolution’

Or: The Meme, the unit of culture as the holon/parton

Weapons of Mass Instruction (Velikovsky, ICD 2014)

Weapons of Mass Instruction: The Meme, the Unit of Culture (Velikovsky, ICD 2014)

In late April 2014, I presented a paper on some of my ongoing doctoral research, at the Initiating Change by Design (ICD 2014) Symposium. (A photo I took during some of the presentations on Day 2 of the Symposium, below.)

ICD 2014 Symposium

And, below is an `extended version’ (40 mins, rather than 10 mins) of, the PPT/paper I presented:

Weapons of Mass Instruction: The Meme, the Unit of Culture

A filmed PowerPoint presentation of “Weapons of Mass Instruction: Memetic Engineering and Directed Biocultural Evolution” (40 mins) given by JT Velikovsky at the Initiating Change by Design Symposium, at University of Western Sydney, April 23rd 2014. (This paper will be published – somewhere, and soonish… stay tuned…) (And, a big thanks also to Dr Tanya Notley, for video footage of the event – see the 5 mins of montage at the end.)

I also took some photos at the event:
Sarah Pink - & `Food For Thought'
ICD 2014Katrina @ ICD 2014 Frank at the Desk Enrico @ ICD

From Data To Action – The Power of Adoption Papers! 

On Day 2 of the Symposium I was also part of a group who participated in a fantastic workshop led by Tom Halsør and Angela Morelli, on Research and Data Visualisation…

As participants, we interviewed – and `adopted’ a resident from Riverlands Sydney (I lucked out, and got a lovely cab-driver from the Riverlands who I interviewed on the way to the workshop) – and, after a fun day of brainstorming, and led expertly by Tom and Angela through 9 x different (and also really fun) Creative / Research / Data-Visualization processes – we then all finally had a hot 15 minutes, to make a prototype of our individual design concept aimed at our `adopted’ user, addressing: Sustainability and Community and Cultural Engagement in the Riverlands – or: “How can we strengthen (design, reinforce, build) a sense of IDENTITY in the Riverlands, Sydney, by activating public engagement?”.

Diane presenting

Below is my (created in 15 minutes! No waiting!) concept for: Graffiti on the roads, showing art trails and community cultural events… (As Tom observed – sort of like: Google-Maps-for-real!) And, frame left, is `Riverlands Pirate Radio’ APOC (Analog Proof Of Concept – i.e. Frank Davey’s & Tess Rapa’s group’s prototype) which, I also thought was a fantastic idea.  


On the afternoon of Day 1, we also had a 1-hour workshop on the Digital Humanities, chaired by Assoc Prof Hart Cohen, which was terrific, and a really illuminating session.

Overall, the 2-Day ICD Symposium (2014) was terrific, the best event of its type I’ve attended. Many thanks again to Dr Abby Lopes & Dr Alison Gill, and the UWS Design School, also UWS in general, Tom and Angela, all presenters and participants, and everyone involved. (And also a very special thanks to Dr Oliver Vodeb, for the excellent and helpful feedback on my paper.)

Tanya presenting @ ICD


Also an excellent book we received at the Seminar is: Visualising Information For Advocacy (written and researched by Stephanie Hankey, Tom Longley, Marek Tuszynski and Maya Indira Ganesh, Tactical Technology Collective, Bangalore, 2013).

`Visualising Information for Advocacy is a book about how advocates and activists use visual elements in their campaigns. This 170-page guide features over 60 case studies from around the world to provide an introduction to understanding visual information and a framework for using images for influence.’ (https://visualisingadvocacy.org/)

This book is a terrific resource for anyone using visual information for influence, whether an activist, educator, or anyone aiming to spread memes (ideas, processes, products). I was particularly impressed with page 55 (Children’s World Map), p 79 (On Reducing Your Water Footprint), and p133 (Surface Area Required To Power The World).


And speaking of reducing footprints – check out this amazing info-graphic story, called Food is for Eating by Angela Morelli: http://www.foodisforeating.org/

`It’s the story of the food we waste and, most of all, the food we can save.

The project is the result of a belief that communicating science with clarity and beauty can spark understanding and engagement. It is the result of eleven months’ work spent studying, discussing and researching, in order to imagine and design a good story through the right balance of words and images – what I call an info-graphic story. Eleven months of work, but you need only take 5 minutes to read, hopefully enjoy and then share this story. Understanding is important but sharing can turn one thought into millions, one action into millions.’ – Angela Morelli




As for `Weapons of Mass Instruction: Memetic Engineering and Directed Biocultural Evolution (or the meme – the unit of culture as the holon/parton)’ – if it’s of interest, for more background on the research presented in the 40-min PPT (linked above), please see:

StoryAlity – An Index to this Blog: https://storyality.wordpress.com/an-index-to-this-blog/

And, perhaps, see also: StoryAlity #71On Consilience and Creativity for an Amazon-linked bibliography of many of the key works that have also influenced my ongoing research on cultural (including film) `virality’, and memes in culture in general, across all domains and disciplines.

And – for more detail on the evolutionary systems (or, complexity) view of narrative and bioculture in general, see, this book chapter:

StoryAlity #132The holon/parton structure of the Meme, the unit of culture – and the narreme, or unit of story – book chapter (Velikovsky 2016)

And for a great consilience & creativity & evolution reading list, see:

StoryAlity #71On Consilience in the Arts / Humanities / Communication

Comments, always welcome.


JT Velikovsky

High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher

The above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/



Velikovsky, J. T. (2016). `The Holon/Parton Theory of the Unit of Culture (or the Meme, and Narreme): In Science, Media, Entertainment and the Arts.‘ In A. Connor & S. Marks (Eds.), Creative Technologies for Multidisciplinary Applications. New York: IGI Global.


4 thoughts on “StoryAlity #111 – Weapons of Mass Instruction (ICD 2014) – On Memetics

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