.alternative economy cultures

tanda_network_600x333Photo: Geraldine Juarez / ‘Tanda Foundation’ installation

The ‘Alternative Economy Cultures’ (alt.econ.cult) programme on April 3rd & 5th brought together leading international and Finnish thinkers, cultural practitioners and activists, to present alternative economic visions.

The seminar aimed to tackle not just the financial, but the social, cultural, institutional, human, material, emotional and intellectual forms of capital. Not just about individual gain, boosting, balancing or bail-outs, but common good, peer-to-peer, shared wealth and appropriate reward for effort involved.

Bridging the gap between presentations, reflections and things-to-be-done, the discussion-based workshop about peer-fundraising asked: Can the crowd-sourcing phenomena be applied to support alternative cultural events in Finland?

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Friday 3rd April, 10.00 - 18.00

FULL 1-DAY SEMINAR

Cultural practitioners, activists, and economic theorists from Finland and abroad, working from different contexts, strategies and institutional backgrounds, were invited to contribute to this theme.

Michael Albert (US), Michel Bauwens (BE/TH), Geraldine Juárez (MX), Tapani Köppä (FI),
Kristoffer Lawson of Scred (FI), Wojtek Mejor (PL), Saija-Riitta Sadeoja of Porkkanamafia (FI), Oliver Ressler (AT), Sara Sajjad of Piratbyrån (SE), Felix Stalder (AT), Tere Vadén (FI), and
Eero Yli-Vakkuri of Uuva Project (FI).

Documentations of the programme

Download press release [suomeksi .pdf 71kb]
Download speakers biographies and presentation/project abstracts [.pdf 171K]
Download seminar infosheet (including texts on this page) [.pdf 292K]

Morning session
10.00 - 12.00 in Kiasma Theatre
Chaired by Marita Muukkonen & Ivor Stodolsky of Perpetuum Mobile.

Afternoon sessions
13.00 - 16.00 in Kiasma Theatre
16.30 - 18.00 in Kiasma Seminar room
Chaired by Roope Mokka of Demos Helsinki.
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Seminar registration & costs

Registrations were taken to indicate audience numbers and constitution.
Further information email to alt.econ.cult [-at-] pixelache.ac
Free entry! (festival pass not needed)
Volunteer contributions (of 5, 10, 30, 50€) welcome.

Donate online (suorita maksu suomeksi). Total raised by 5th April: €305
There was also a Piñata, specially-made by Geraldine Juárez, at the PIxelache info desk to gather offline donations. Total raised by 5th April: €27
See final budget (circa 17.04.2009): [.pdf 76kb] file licensed as CC-by-nc-nd. Or view online here

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Sunday 5th April, 15.00 - 17.00

WORKSHOP ABOUT PEER-FUNDRAISING

Afternoon session 15.00 - 17.00 at Demos Helsinki Office (Laivurinkatu 41)
Hosted and chaired by Roope Mokka.

Discussion-based workshop led by Geraldine Juárez of Tanda Foundation (MX), featuring also Michel Bauwens (BE/TH), Kristoffer Lawson of Scred (FI), Lennu Keinänen of Suomen Verkkomaksut (FI), Aleksi Aaltonen (FI/UK), Andrew Gryf Paterson and others.

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Associated Events Before & After

Thursday 2nd April, 16.00 - 18.00

Seminar on Private Property Rights / Copy-right / Copy-left
(Event organised by Department of Political Science featuring Michael Albert)
Location: Unioninkatu 37, main lecture hall, University of Helsinki.

Thursday 23rd April, 11.00 - 16.00

Captitalism'09
(A series of international events that focus on the analysis of the state of contemporary capitalism, organised by The Left Forum and Attac of Helsinki University)
Location: Vanhan Ylioppilastalo, Mannerheimintie 3.

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'Alternative Economy Cultures' statement
by organiser Andrew Gryf Paterson, 12.03.09

Cultural production and social-networking, especially the digital online versions of the recent decade, have promoted new ideas of wealth, opportunity, scarcity, and exchange. Importantly, it also reminds us of old ones. Surrounding those ideas are developing practices, cultures and entrpreneurship.

Some of these have long roots and heritage. There was an old Scots phrase, common weil, meaning ‘common good’ or ‘public welfare’ way back in the 16th century. The concept of ‘mutual aid’, for example, was reflected upon by Russian intellectuals, late 19th century, as an important quality in human evolution. Certainly, cooperation, especially in rural villages, has been a feature of everyday and seasonal life for centuries in different parts of the world; in Finland, for example, through the common understanding of talkoot. Following, the social-clubs (seurantalot) built in the early 20th century were based on peer-to-peer activity. In the contemporary context, similar motivations form within internet collaboration and Wikipedia entries. Commonly, moving house is often done with peer-to-peer mutual aid, and chipping in together with friends to buy a boat is an appreciated local example of peer-funding.

Thanks to digital tools and internet network connections, the ability to creatively adjust and innovate has expanded to the mass population. Established holders of wealth are challenged as others (often portrayed as the younger generation), who gain new materials, resources, and the ability to create value anew. The Pirate Bay has been on trial in Sweden, and free culture is maybe not running only on volunteer energies. Furthermore, technologies are enabling us to participate in and co-ordinate production - raising and distributing ‘added-value’ - in a more transparent fashion.

Market-led capitalism and state-led socialism have both crashed in spectacular forms over the last 30 years. We are currently amid financial crisis where virtual credit affects physical and emotional health. These systems have proven to be unsustainable in their use of resources and people, and lead towards environmental and economic collapse.

Can we move forward in a sustainable and ethical way, leaving behind inequalities, appropriation and exploitation?

Read more: notes from an organiser.

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Organisation and cooperation

The full 1-day seminar and related ‘peer-funding’ workshop was initiated and organised by artist-researcher Andrew Gryf Paterson (independent / Medialab TaiK), in cooperation with
Marita Muukkonen & Ivor Stodolsky of Perpetuum Mobilε and Roope Mokka of Demos Helsinki.
We aim to offer a new strand to the Pixelache Network discourse.

Press contacts, photos and interview requests:

Andrew Paterson: +358 (0)50402 3828, agryfp [-at-] gmail .com
Perpetuum Mobilε: +358 40 725 40 50, perpetualmobile [-at-] gmail.com
Roope Mokka: +358 (0)44040 0413, roope.mokka [-at-] demos .fi

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Peer-funding experiment

demos-nk-verkkomaksut_logo_online

An online donation system was set up in collaboration with partner organisation Demos Helsinki, with the in-kind support of Suomen Verkkomaksut and implemented by Nordkapp, to explore the 'crowdfunding' phenomena seen in Obama's election campaign. Can it be applied to support cultural events in Finland?

This 'Alternative Economy Cultures' programme was difficult to fund via the usual institutional channels. Already both keynote speakers (Albert and Bauwens) will be present in Helsinki thanks to the support of seed-funding from enthusiastic individual peers and non-profit organisations, covering their upfront travel costs.

We aimed to raise money to recover the outlay costs of organising and supporting speakers. If we had had surplus we aimed to spread it back among the contributors in the form of project grants and further events.

Donate online (suorita maksu suomeksi). Total raised by 5th April: €305
There was also a Piñata, specially-made by Geraldine Juárez, at the PIxelache info desk to gather offline donations. Total raised by 5th April: €27
See final budget (circa 17.04.2009): [.pdf 76kb] file licensed as CC-by-nc-nd. Or view online here

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Secured financial sponsors and supporters

fifi-framefund_logo_combo

The seminar event has been supported with a donation by FiFi and Voima.

The seminar event secured the presence of 3 International seminar speakers - Michael Albert, Michel Bauwens and Oliver Ressler - thanks to their benefit of a writer’s fee for an article in Frame-Fund's Framework journal.

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Funding towards participants presence in the seminar/workshop has been raised from individual, organisation or institutional contributions specifically for each person, as follows:

participant-sponsors_combo_1

Michael Albert has been supported by 3 personal donations, plus Vasemmistofoorumi (Left Forum),
ATTAC Finland, and the Department of Political Science at the University of Helsinki.

Michel Bauwens has been supported by 5 personal donations.

Geraldine Juarez's presence in Finland is thanks to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs support of the

'Signals of the South' programme in the Pixelache Festival.

Oliver Ressler and Felix Stalder are attending thanks to the support of Cultural Attaché at the
Austrian Embassy in Helsinki.

Sara Sajjad's travel from Stockholm and accomodation with the support of the Svenska Kulturfonden.

Tapani Köppä's travel and accomodation is covered by his employer-institution, University of Helsinki.

Tere Vadén's travel is covered by his employer-institution, University of Tampere.

The other presenters, organiser and chairpersons are supported by their own means or in-kind support, and currently give their time voluntarily.

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Event programme acknowledgements

Gratitude and acknowledgement to Niklas Vainio, Mikko Lipiäinen, Markku Aattonen, Olga Mashkina and Ruurik Holm for their nominations to the programme. Unfortunately not all nominations could attend the event or the necessary support could be raised to include them.

Special thanks to Marita Muukkonen and Ivor Stodolsky of Perpetuum Mobile, Matti Ylönen of KEPA, Andrea Botero, Olga Mashkina, and fellow peers of the seminar in the planning process, for their support, feedback, encouragement and advice.

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