Notes from an organiser

The programme of 'Alternative Economy Cultures' events are themselves an example outcome of using and applying social, cultural, institutional, human, emotional, and financial forms of capital (and not that much material/natural capital, excluding the flights of course). Not claiming to be any expert in the topic, the programme of speakers in the seminar emerged from a combination of direct invitations, and peer nominations from the social network of the organiser and associates. Who is invited or nominated, and financially supported by whom - as transparently as possible - has been declared in the seminar details to acknowledge that this event is not only the work of 1 curator/decision-maker, but has been, in parts, a collective effort. I like to think that the participants of the programme, including the audience, benefit from good friends, family and supporters, academic institutions, non-profit organisations, the leftovers of the Nordic welfare system, Kunsthalles, cultural festivals and grants, the Embassies, the Networks, and an near-poverty of some form, to develop their perspectives; Others from the precarity of freelance cultural work and writing, socio-economic necessity, politics or emerging new markets of exchange; for good more than for bad. Personally, I count inspiration growing up and living in rural and post-industrial places in Scotland, and recently in summer of 2007, encountering the innovative cultural work of InCUBATE in Chicago. In March 2008 I was categorised as an 'entrepreneur' by the Finnish Ministry of Labour (due to my artist-researcher profile, despite the fact I am not registered as self-employed). This was a reminder of the one-sided application of the cultural/creative economic paradigm, and the work that is needing to be done to reveal it's hidden features, including it's material poverty. Organising, I have recognised that there seem to be few institutional spaces in Helsinki/Finland where these different cultural, political, economical and technological positions can be gathered and investigated together in an open-minded and unbiased way. That is, in my opinion, a future challenge in complexity, and increasingly an issue of/for survival. A cultural festival, such as one like Pixelache Festival - of electronic art and subcultures, including the exploration of grassroot organising and networks; politics and economics of media/technology; media literacy and engaging environmental issues - is one organisation where social, intellectual and institutional capital has often gathered over the years, but is based on mostly volunteer work. If we were to pay everyone, nothing would have happened to begin. That is a very-much unresolved problematic, and also strength where we support our dreams. (Andrew Gryf Paterson)