This year's Pixelache festival, entitled Living Spaces, concentrates on the urban environment of Helsinki and tries to use any potential city space, whether public, private or in-between, as a playground for the festival's manifestations of creative and participatory culture. Instead of being based in one static location, the festival employs cultural decentralisation as a methodology, spreading its activities across the centre and periphery of this dynamic, constantly evolving city. The increasingly diverse makeup of urban life seeds the festival activities, which build from Pixelache's past work on the emerging boundary of technology and art while also seeking new trans-disciplinary openings. Living Spaces aims to empower Helsinki's citizens to be active components of cultural decentralisation.

Living Spaces encourages the investigation of everyday urban life, understood as a dynamic, networked, self-regulating system filled with complex and chaotic interactions. Through emerging artistic, technological and social practices the festival will focus on new concepts, inventive strategies and methods for the flexible interpretation and exploration of public and private urban space. Our goal is to re-imagine the city as a playground, a sandbox for positive change and an opportunity for civic engagement and new awareness of cityscape. 

Pixelache Festival 2015, through its decentralised and semi-outsourced model, hopes to eliminate the distance between one-time festival events and ordinary, daily routines. Living Spaces attempts to embed the festival directly onto city life so the connections exposed during its short run can persist long beyond the closing date.

Activities and events

The festival starts before the festival, with several workshops and games in the week before. Echo Surveys for Living Spaces is a four day exploration of sound and the city, where participants will listen, record and play several city environemnts. The Living Fictions workshop will create fictional narratives (in the form of text, visual art, or performance) inspired by actual city locations. In parallel, Living Non-Fictions assembles a team to document the festival activities in a subjective, experimental manner. Two Ferment Lab workshops take place this year, the first starting before the festival. And the 2015 Recycling Olympic Games will convert a neglected urban park into a festive arena, where teams will compete in different categories around the creative use and mis-use of waste.

The proper Living Spaces festival begins on Wednesday in Viikki, with the 2015 edition of Foodycle, an annual activity investigating the future of food, with discussions, seminars and a farmer's market. On Thursday, we then move outside of Helsinki with an organised bus trip to Lohja, for Alpaca Oracle, an inter-species communication project between humans and alpacas. Also on Thursday, we open two exhibitions (Weltstadt at Laituri and STRATAGRIDS at MUU), and present two activities from the Gaming the System project (taking place in both public and private space).

During the weekend, the "Festival centre" - an HKL tram - will loop around various points of the city, showcasing sound and media art installations (curated by Kruks) and providing a mobile social centre for the festival (and free coffee). On Friday, the conference Living Chatter takes place at Arcada, which will feature talks and discussions relating to the festival's themes and content. More workshops take place each day, including an investigation of the space between human and inanimate, mesh networking, and guerilla offline file-sharing. Saturday brings the Pixelache kirpputori, an unusual flea market where anyone is encouraged to trade their goods. On Friday and Saturday evenings, we've assembled a variety of musicians and performers for this year's Pixelache Club, hosted at Mad House in Suvilahti.

Two parallel festival themes are Helsinki Outside⋅In and Helsinki Inside⋅Out. Helsinki Outside⋅In collects several existing cultural activities under one umbrella, selected by Pixelache for their unique and inventive approaches to space and place. This includes the Our Cuisine=Our Stories project (exploring food and cultural exchange); Juha Valkeapää's 50 Years performance (taking place in his living room); the Zootopia tour (part of the Grey Cubes project at Korkeasaari); and the Krunan Keikat concert series. Throughout the festival, the How to Inhabit a Transitory Space project opens up MaaTila for five uninterrupted days as an experimental testbed of creative activities. In addition to all of this, there are more workshops, presentations, haircuts, and more - check out the full programme!

On Sunday, the festival moves to private space in the frame of the Helsinki Inside⋅Out open platform. Twisting around the Camp Pixelache concept from the 2010-2014 festivals, InsideOut features content curated and produced by the public. This is an experiment, intending to collect various independent, participatory activities that may normally happen behind closed doors, using apartments, studios, offices and other generally 'private' spaces for public events. Anyone can register their own events and participate!. Sunday will also feature several presentations of festival projects, perhaps in collaboration with the Inside⋅Out activities. The festival concludes back at Mad House, with Kino 43, a screening of decentralisation-themed videos curated by the Prague-based Cryptoanarchy Institute.

More information

If you are interested in volunteering, attending, or otherwise participating in Living Spaces, please contact the festival organisers via festival @ pixelache .ac, or find a the appropriate person via the festival contact page.  

Pixelache Festival is primarily supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the City of Helsinki Cultural Office.