Rousseau’s Garden screening + Self-organising strategies seminar


Kiasma Theatre
Screening of 'Rousseaun puutarha' ('Rousseau's Garden), a documentary film by Roope Ahola, about an independent art venue Happihuone that existed next to Töölönlahti bay in central Helsinki. 


Kiasma seminar room
Self-organising strategies discussion.

Discussion hosted by Andrew Paterson (FI), with contributions from Cindy Kohtala (FI), Demian Deadly (UK), and others. This session will have an open discussion format.

References for Discussion: 

“The term self-organising is borrowed from systems theory and the natural sciences, where it describes systems whose internal organisation tends to increase in complexity without being guided by an outside source. In recent years it has been used in relation to certain kinds of social groups or networks; in this context, the term does not have a strict definition, but broadly speaking it refers to groups that are independent of institutional or corporate structures, are non-hierachical, open and operate participatory decision-making processes.”  (Page 5. ‘Self-Organising/Counter-Economic Strategies’, Ed. Will Bradley, Mika Hannula, Cristina Ricupero and Superflex, Sternberg Press, 2006).


“The education of an organiser requires long conferences on organisational problems, analysis of power patterns, communication, conflict tactics, the education and development of community leaders, and the methods of introduction of new issues.. Always the potential organiser’s personal experience was used as the basis for teaching. Always after the problem was solved there would be long sessions in which a postmortem would dissect teh specifics and then stitch them into a synthesis, a body of concepts. All experiences are significant only insofar as they are related to an dillunminating a central concept. History does not repeat specific situations – if any of the examples in these pages are read isolated from the general concept, they will be nothing more than a series of anecdotes. Everything became a learning experience.” (page 64. ‘Rules For Radicals: a pragmatic primer for realistic radicals’, Saul D. Alinsky, Vintage Books, 1971).

“If one thinks of an organiser as a highly imaginative and creative architect and engineer then the best we have been able to train on the job were skilled plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, all essential to the building and maintenance of their community structure, but incapable of going elsewhere to design and execute a new structure in a new community.” (page 65-66, ibid).


“The area of experience and communication is fundemental to the organiser. An organiser can communicate only within the areas of experience of his audience; otherwise there is no communication. The organiser, in his constant hunt for patterns, universalities, and meaning, is always building up a body of experience.

Through his imagination he is constantly moving in on the happenings of others, identifying with them and extracting their happenings into his own mental digestive system and thereby accumulating more experience. It is essential for communication the he know of their experiences. Since one can communicate only through the experiences of the other, it becomes clear that the organiser begins to develop an abnormally large body of experience.

He learns the local legends, anecdotes, values, idioms. He listens to small talk. He refrains from rhetorical foreign to the local culture.. And yet the organiser must try not to fake it. He must be himself.” (page 70, ibid)


Related to Pixelache 2008's grassroots theme day (Sunday 16 March), we have sent this questionnaire to a few organisations / networks / communities connected to this year's Pixelache festival:


  • What are the aims of the project you are involved in?
  • How is the project organised?
  • How do you support the work financially and what impact does this have on your project?
  • What do you feel you have achieved, and what are the problems you face?
  • Are there any past projects/models which have inspired you?
  • What are your hopes for the future?


These same questions were asked by Martha Wallner and Will Bradley in the book 'Self-Organisation/ Counter-economic Strategies' from following US based organisations: IndymediaFree Speech Radio NewsElectronic IntifadaOther Cinema (and A.T.A. Gallery) and Temporary ServicesSee what these organisations answered. Pixelache will publish answers from DorkbotBoxwars and a few others..

Pixelache 08 - Podcast 4: Grassroots Day
The fourth day of this year's festival