Well, it might not sound as appealing as a summer in the Caraibes but it is an experience I would be pleased to let you know more about...
As a French student in my first year of Master's degree in Management of European and International cultural projects, a three months internship was mandatory at the end of the year. My Finnish roots have always arisen my curiosity towards this country, visited many times but never experienced as a local: this short internship seemed to be a good opportunity to seize. A contact in Lyon nicely gave me some names of structures in Finland and Sweden he has heard about: The Cable Factory, The Korjaamo Culture Factory, Pixelache, Subtopia, Majeriet, Transit, Culturalentrepreneur, Nätverkstan, Culturen, Not quite, Röda Sten Art Centre....
Pixelache? The name of the association intrigued me at first sight. Among the different structures and associations, this Pixelache association seemed the jackpot: an internship in Helsinki, with a small-medium size team, a whole mix of artistic fields, environmental and political engagements, performances, debates and workshops, actors from all over Europe and even further... A first email sent to Steve, the producer of the 2020-2021 programme, crossing my fingers but not hoping too much... and a pretty encouraging answer 30 minutes after! Of course, as I will discover later, Pixelache works as a community and such decisions have to be taken collectively during the members meetings. After a couple of weeks my application has been validated and I have begun to discover a bit more about the incoming events and tasks I will be working on.
So, after a week in the Finnish countryside I began my internship at the end of June.
July is the calmest month of the year - Pixelache following the flow of Finnish summer vacation - a month to discover little by little more about the association by working on the archives of past events and festivals, writing blog posts and also managing the first open call. This first month gave me the possibility to understand better the whole functioning of Pixelache, by meeting some of its different members and working on both previous and future projects. From the TrashLab and Pixelache festival 2019 with Steve Maher, to the social media guidance with Saša Nemec, the 2021 Festival and the history of Pixelache with Andrew G. Paterson, and also the Free Translation project with Arlene Tucker and Anastasia Artemeva.
After this first month getting involved in the association, I felt this multitude of profiles reflecting the multidisciplinary side of the association but also a common interest in creation and experimentation related to today’s burning issues, from environmental, to social or technological concerns. As a young adult, these topics speak to me and are necessary to be explored.
August is the time when Helsinki is waking up again, a time to help with different types of events happening. Culture Stew event happened the 5th of August: hosted by Tuomo Tammenpää and Sari Kippilä, it gave me the possibility to discover an island in the south of Finland, meeting other members from Pixelache as Juan Duarte or Frida Stenbäck. I got in charge of the documentation of the event through Instagram (follow the account here!) but also had the chance to participate in this day of cultural exchanges and discover more about partners of Pixelache abroad.
The week after was a second opportunity to work closely with partners of Pixelache through the Relational Art Week at the Myymälä 2 gallery. It was the occasion to help Elge Oddo throughout the week in terms of organisation and mediation but also to enjoy everyday of the festival and meeting members from both Pixelache, with the performances of Vishnu Vardhani Rajan, Ingrid André, Antti Ahonen or Steve Maher, and also Myymälä 2 as Timo Tuhkanen or Ramiro Camelo. I also had the nice experience as public to attend the Planet Suvilahti event, co-produced by Egle Oddo, who guided me through the different events happening, discovering better about the Suvilahti community.
At the end of August, I have been in charge of part of the production of the Cosmo[s]politan Radiophonic Picnic hosted by Sumugan Sivanesan, currently developing the research project Fugitive Radio in collaboration with Pixelache. After two months helping Steve Maher with production tasks, he gave me the opportunity to complete the production of this event on my own, which was a very positive experience.
Because art installations don’t last forever, on the 30th August with some Pixelache’s members, we went to Vartiosaari to discard a wood structure put in place in 2014 by the Hello Wood collective: a lot of work but in a nice environment! This month of August was especially the occasion to experience different events produced and co-produced by Pixelache and to meet many members and a part of Pixelache’s network
The third and last month of my internship arrived very fast after all these events. September was first rhymed with the Helsinki city grant application. It had been the occasion for me to witness the consequent work needed to fill such grant application, helping beside with the activity plan.
At the same time the new financial administrator Tiina Bodonyi started her work for Pixelache, it had been nice having someone new working at the office!
Sadly, as many cultural associations, Pixelache had to remove its event for September due to the corona virus situation. The Social Tools conference has been cancelled to avoid any possible disease transmission, but instead will be developed an archive documentation of the whole Social Tools project, going on already for a couple of years now.
September was then a time for me to help with more microtasking. I kept on helping with social media tasks, creating posts about Pixelache’s members or also printing and putting stickers on the office’s windows (now you should be able to see where the office is!). To end this internship the best possible way, I had the occasion to participate to the workshops Call for Action organised by members for the members, to discuss together and gather ideas to improve the functioning of Pixelache in terms of anti-racism. Pixelache members have these motives of looking forwards, opening to challenge themselves and experiment new ways of working collectively.
This might not have been the iconic relaxing Summer everybody is looking forward to, but I can assure you that I did fully enjoy this summer with Pixelache, learning, discovering, discussing with a whole collective of people willing to act and exchange.
Thank you to all the Pixelache members and people from its network I have met and worked with!
(PS: and see you back in April?!)