Observatory Case


Pixelache Helsinki is a Finland-based creative association on emerging creative practices with almost 20 years of activity engaging issues in eco-social transformation. Starting as a Festival of Electronic Arts & Subcultures, throughout the past decade the association has been running a trans-disciplinary platform for emerging art, design, research, technology and activism that involved a dynamic local community, and an annual festival experimenting with a rotating directorial model. The rich association’s history and activities in the field of transformational creative practice are the core focus of the Pixelache experimental production, by engaging with organisational meta-data, and Pixelache’s production office in Suvilahti as a tangible memory device.

Maker Contribution to Dodo ry’s ‘Megapolis 2026: Energetic Cities’, as part of Pixelache’s outreach & education programme ‘Pixelversity’, Helsinki, 15.10.2011 (image credit: Antti Ahonen).

Within the context of CreaTures research, the involved Pixelache authors set out the hope of answering:

What internal transformations have happened within the association over time that helped to maintain its structure and social dynamic? How is cultural programming sustained, and how are cultural and organisational practices passed on? What happens when key association members leave or new organisational formats emerge? What makes socialised creative practice sustainable? How might we engage and make accessible the past history of the association, to assist social sustainability and awareness of transformations over different generations of active contributors, wider cultural community, and research communities? How do we keep going?

Members of the Pixelache group conducted mapping of the social history and internal transformation of the Pixelache festival and platform over the period of its 20 years of existence, with a focus on those stages and processes that are relevant to eco-social transformation as it is broadly understood. This work involves a compiling of metadata and details from past Pixelache events and processes with a focus on Pixelache’s transformational objectives, ambitions, and impact in the field of social ecology/economical – sustainability.

The compiled data helped to build a timeline of main Pixelache events and internal transformational moments in the organization, and a generational map of key members and their roles in sustaining the organization. In spring 2022, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Irina Mutt and Sumugan Sivanesan from the ExP work-group led an internal workshop with Pixelache members to collectively consider the thematic and metadata compiled in the timeline and generational map, and to identify other artefacts (events, objects, narratives) from the associational history. An ‘audio(fan)zine’ approach was taken to gather voices and short narratives.

These audio zines with situated memories vignettes recorded in the Pixelache office are hoped to encourage further engagement in the Pixelache archival documents and the association’s content management system online. The aim is to encourage those who interact with Pixelache’s documentation to look further and consider in which way did the association respond to its internal transformations, and what was the impact of those changes: What type of stories can be told? What is more difficult and challenging? How can we work with the gaps? What was sustainable and what was lost in the process?

Sumugan Sivanesan recording Andrew Gryf Paterson telling about the ‘felt excel’ fabric scheduling device he made for Camp Pixelache 2013 (image credit: Antti Ahonen).

You can consult their project webpages to view their documentation & listen to their audiozines, as well as read the report.