Report on process

Pixelache: How do we keep going? Transformations in practice

A CreaTures Medium-length Experimental Production (ExP)



Pixelache Helsinki is a Finland-based creative association on emerging creative practices with almost 20 years of activity engaging issues in eco-social transformation. Throughout the last two decades, the association has been running a trans-disciplinary platform for emerging art, design, research, technology, and activism that involves a dynamic local community and an annual festival that has recently experimented with a rotating directorial model. The rich association’s history and activities in the field of transformational creative practice are the core focus of our process. We sought to explore the how the association has developed and sustained it's festival organisational practice. By engaging with organisational meta-data, the office as a tangible memory device, and the production of two audiozines, we gathered perspectives from active members reflecting upon how the organisation has changed via objects and narratives. 



12/11/2021-13/01/2022 – Preparatory works and discussions, scoping both conceptual and technical potential

14/01/-21/02/2022 – Background research in organisational metadata; Compilation of festival and member metadata over 20 years as reference; Production of handmade Gantt -style chart of ‘generational’ active association members

25-26/03/2022 – Audiozine material gathering workshop

22,28/04/2022 – Additional association member audio interviews

10-11,16/05/2022 – Audio selection, editing and arrangement of audiozines

16/5/2022-06/06/2022 – Gathering of materials for online webpages

06/06/2022-14/06/2022 – Reporting and finalizing materials

29/06/2022-09/07/2022 – Presentation of audiozines & photographs in CreaTures Festival, Sevilla, Spain


Report of ExP process

14/01/-21/02/2022 – Background research in organisational metadata; Compilation of festival and member metadata over 20 years as reference; Production of handmade Gantt -style chart of ‘generational’ active association members

The first stage in the process considered the associational background of who was involved at different times in the organisation, gathering metadata related to the festivals, board members, and active producing members, as well as contributions by members in terms of programme content each year. The compiled data help to build a timeline of main Pixelache events and internal transformational moments in the organization, and a generational map of key members and their roles in sustaining the organization.

While the association’s website and content management is a record and source of information to consider, so too are digital organizational documents, and portfolio reports. This metadata  was gathered as a backbone of factual information upon which narratives can be based or problematized.

A Gantt -style visualization showing durations on a timeline was handmade by Andrew Gryf Paterson to chart the involvements of members in Pixelache association, as a ‘generational map’ (figure 1). The timeline started in 2002 and ends in 2021, although a list of association members was only truely referenced in AGM or board archival documents from around 2010. Since then there was been an increasing number of new members joining the association, on average 3 per year since 2013, with variable levels of activity. This compilation of information had not been done before and supplmented the dispersed or incomplete information that was available online in Pixelache’s reports.

Tracing the participation of members, allowed a glimpse on panthers: most of the members who ended up being producers or artistic directors of Pixelache Festival, participated with art projects or collaborations with the association. While it was acknowledged that there were gaps in this data of who was included - for example choosing to focus on board or registered association members, and festival production team, rather than international guest contributors or curators - this metadata and generational chart offered a reference point of personnel changes in the organisation. 


Figure 1. Handmade Gantt chart showing active members in Pixelache association. Key: blue refers to content contribution per year; dark green for board role; brown for producer responsibilities; green for web admin. Credit: Andrew Gryf Paterson 


These internal movements implied that roles like producing, becoming board members, or artistic director, were roles accessible to any member with the motivation and will to take them. This information, of course, didn't reflect intersections like: who feels entitled to take roles, internal dynamics or other intersections. It allowed us, though, to see general changes, like nationalities and gender of members and producers, etc, and also to detect general dynamics on the contents, interests, and strategies.

In consideration of the metadata compiled in the timeline and generational map, the next step was to identify other artefacts (events, objects, narratives) from the associational history that may be useful in co-creating an overview of Pixelache’s internal transformations. In reference to these artefacts, it was argued that we can start to consider in which way did the association respond to those transformations, and what was the impact of those changes.

However, how can we work playfully and creatively with what we know and find online in our content management system but also with the gaps in the data? What did we gather to assist our memory or also what did we forget? What was sustainable and what was lost in the process?


25-26/03/2022 – Audiozine material gathering workshop

Irina Mutt and Sumugan Sivanesan, as new association members from 2021, were invited to lead a workshop with Pixelache members and other interested persons to focus on a collective making of ‘fanzine’ style audio vignettes or anecdotes with Pixelache members. Chosing this method, recording situated audio narratives in a quick, unstructured way, we aimed to use these audio vignettes and anecdotes to encourage further engagement in our archival documents and our content management system online. We hoped to encourage those who interact with Pixelache’s documentation to look further.

On the 25-26th March 2022 we organised a 2 day internal workshop at Pixelache production office, in Suvilahti Cultural complex, Helsinki, inviting Pixelache members (via members mailing list) to take part in a social association memory event, "to meet, have some talks, organize materials and check what items, memories and resources we have in the office". Our intention was to consider the sustainability and transformation of the organisation over time, with regards to the things, artefacts or objects that are traces of activity, association, festival and events (Figure 2). Due to the length of time that the association has existed, we were also inevitably facing the fragmentation, density of information, non linearity, and of course, gaps. What type of stories can be told? What is more difficult and challenging? Firstly we faced the challenge of what remains materially of associational activity, and what we remember or forget over time. We speculated that the Pixelache production office was a interface device itself, as container for objects with various usages at different times. The office became a non linear and non organized archive, full of tangible data. 

Being on site it was possible to trigger memories relating to Pixelache, in a sort of 'Proustian madeleine' process, allowing a more playful approach to the idea of archive. Objects as traces surrounded by different stories, these stories were subjective ways to recall the past. We can reflect and question if there is any objectivity in archives, data or statistics.

We used two contrasting strategies in the audiozine workshop:

1. Identify potential narratives that could be explored with objects, and then find items in the office that recall transformations in the organisation of cultural programming; for example related to the 'open space / camp' formats of the festivals; or to find different printed artefacts (e.g. flyers, posters) related to the different festivals, especially from 2011 onwards, and influencing persons.

2. Alternatively, random associations and alternative perspectives by those attending, from 'unboxing' archives and other miscellaneous items in the office.


Figure 2: Top left: Unboxing paper based materials from past Pixelache Festivals and projects, creating a random collage. Top right: Sumugan Sivanesan recording Andrew Gryf Paterson telling about the ‘felt excel’ fabric scheduling device he made for Camp Pixelache 2013. Bottom left: Agnieszka Pokrywka recalling memories on the use of the red-white megaphone that was first used in Camp Pixelache 2014, recorded by Sumugan Sivanesan, in company of Mathilde Palenius and Irina Mutt. Bottom right: Social eating together with unboxing archival materials and old technologies. Image credits: Antti Ahonen


22,28/04/2022 – Additional association member audio interviews

Following the workshop it was identified that the information gathered in the office workshop missed certain voices of recent producer or board members. Several additional interviews were made according to availability, which focused mostly on Festivals and experience between 2013-2019, and the most recent generation of active members who had also taken important co-directing and production roles.


10-11,16/05/2022 – Audio selection, editing and arrangement of Audiozine

Following the workshop, Irina Mutt, Sumugan Sivanesan and Andrew Gryf Paterson worked together to select and edit the workshop conversation and interviews into the ‘audiozine’ format.

Over 3 days the editing process led to the arrangement of narrative themes around two clusters of conversations, selecting related artefacts or things that were discussed. 


Figure 3. Irina Mutt & Sumugan Sivanesan working on audiozine edit and thematic clusters. Image credits: Andrew Gryf Paterson


The first thematic cluster was decentralization, and it’s relationship to the Festival production, rotating co-directorship and related socio-economical aspects of cultural work. We recognized that burn-out of social organisational energy, which paradoxically also allowed space for new persons to take on curatorial roles, was an important factor in why the organisation has kept going for so long in the past decade. 

The second thematic cluster was the diversity of disciplines, practice backgrounds and experience, and how this related to expectations of what the association is doing together. These subjects was clustered under the title of Communities of Practice.


16/5/2022-06/06/2022 – Gathering of materials for online webpages

The tangible interface ambition of the original proposal was adjusted as an online web page which presents the audiozine, with text and links, allowing for more accessible listening and review.

On Pixelache’s webpages, a project subsite was made to present the Audiozines, as hosted audio files (embedded via, together with images and comments (i.e. these webpages).

Descriptive comments were added in the waveform interface, as well as on the webpages below the audio widget, to give context to the anecdotes in the conversation. Hyperlinks were made to the online database entries for events or festivals.

The webpages are also an entry point to learn more about the process we were engaged within over the 6 months of 2022.


29/06/2022-09/07/2022 – Presentation of audiozines and photographs in CreaTures Festival, Sevilla, Spain

The two audiozines are presented in CreaTures Festival in Sevilla, Spain, from 29.6.-2.7.2022, and at future CreaTures public forum with the following desriptions:

Audiozine:  Decentralization, burn-out and hijack

This audiozine pastes together conversation around ET grilling, open camp model, festival activity in 2013-2015, decentralization within the association, changing production teams, burn out, and the semi-serious 'positive hijacking' taking Pixelache forwards. Featured objects in the office include liquid smoke, a fabric scheduling device, a megaphone, and a hacked exercise bike.    

Audiozine: Communities of practice

This audiozine pastes together conversation around organisational labour, friendships and motivation, changing disciplines within Pixelache with the recent years, festival 2019, safer space ambitions, things left behind, and a need to collectively imagine future desires. Featured objects include our internal 'pixel' currency for association work, a 3D printer, a bed-side artwork and safe space guidelines.

Collection of photographs

These photographs show the process of engagement in making the audiozines in Spring 2022. We speculated that Pixelache production office in Suvilahti Cultural complex, Helsinki, was a interface device itself, container for objects with various usages at different times. It has hardly been used during the pandemic times.

We hoped to trigger memories through the objects related with Pixelache office, allowing for a more playful approach to the idea of archive, with objects as traces surrounded by different stories and subjective ways to recall the past. We can reflect and question if there is any objectivity in archives, data or statistics.




Changes in production process

The Audiozine workshop described above was organised with the ambition of audiofanzine format, introduced by Irina Mutt. This was originally designed to be presented as a live event, so that stories, memory recalls, and audio guided descriptions are quickly collaged and pasted together as a audio/radio performance. However, due to restrictions in schedules and illness in our working group, these ambitions were scaled to working with the audio recordings in post-production edit.

The DMX workshop originally planned for early Spring 2022 was cancelled when it became clear that necessary work connecting the Festival webpages and the DMX system would be complex considering the time, available skills and resources to make both front-end and back-end work connecting the meta-data into a dynamic interface. We decided to focus on the audio materials and engaging with tangible materials instead.


Production credits

Production Team: Andrew Gryf Paterson, Irina Mutt, Simugan Sivanesan, Antti Ahonen

Workshop planning & facilitation: Irina Mutt, Sumugan Sivanesan, Andrew Gryf Paterson

Audio recording: Sumugan Sivanesan

Audio edit and post-production: Sumugan Sivanesan, Irina Mutt, Andrew Gryf Paterson

Voices: Antti Ahonen, Anastasia Artemeva, Agnieszka Pokrywka, Steve Maher, Irina Mutt, Saša Nemec, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Vishnu Vardhani Rajan

Background organisiation research & metadata: Andrew Gryf Paterson, Irina Mutt 

Photographs: Antti Ahonen, Andrew Gryf Paterson

Project lead / initiator and report: Andrew Gryf Paterson

Support team / financial admin: Mathilde Palenius

Tehnical support/web admin: John Fail


No other additional partners


Reception, promotion and media coverage

The workshop process was internal for Pixelache members.

The Ceatures Seminar on 03/05/2022 was promoted on Pixelache blog, newsletter and social media 

At the time of writing report, the audiozines are not yet publically published, but will be shared on Pixelache’s social media profiles in mid-late June 2022.


Project webpages 


Participant Numbers

Total: 12

Audiozine (gathering materials) workshop: 

9 + 2 following the workshop. Conversations & anecdotes/vignettes were recorded by Sumugan Sivanesan, with recorded conversation and questions including the participation of:

Antti Ahonen, Mathild Palenius, Irina Mutt, Sumugan Sivanesan, Andrew Gryf Paterson,

25.3. Ploy Thongchamnan (intern)

26.3. Agnieszka Pokrywka, Anastasia Artemeva (remote), Visnu Vardhani Rajan (remote)

22.4. Saša Nemec (remote)

28.4. Steve Maher (remote)


Audience Numbers

At the time of writing report, the audiozines are not yet publically published.

Numbers will be gathered from the Creatures Festival in Sevilla, 29/06/2022-09/07/2022


Associated Activities



Extended Afterlife

Pixelache will continue it’s 20 year reflections during the year with members and several public events.


Original proposal description & links (July 2021)

Pixelache Helsinki platform for emerging art, design, research and activism (organised by non-profit cultural association Piknik Frequency ry), with a history of almost 20 years is an ideal candidate demonstrating “creative transformative practice addressing socio-ecological sustainability” over an extended period. As one of the longest running festivals in Northern Europe for emerging and experimental practices, the festival began in 2002 with a focus on electronic arts and subcultures, including international productions, residencies and networks. While there has always been contributions related to urban space, social and ecological issues, this became an increased focus from 2009 onwards. In late 2011, Pixelache was re-branded as a trans-disciplinary platform, with an annual festival that experimented without and rotating directorial model. One feature of the organisation has been a dynamic local community and organic growth model of membership. Pixelache’s membership has grown and changed over the years, and it may be argued we are now in our 3rd or 4th generation of membership growth/change .

Pixelache’s case example is that of creative transformation in content and organisational forms and collective of active members. It is a complex social community that gathers each year or bi-annually since 2017, but are also involved in local and international collaborative processes, and call for “mapping of internal transformative processes happening in the collective over time” is a timely process we have had ambitions for a number of years. 

Early initiatives to map and document the social history of the organisation emerged in 2012 during Helsinki World Design Capital’s Invisible Cities event: we made an open mapping workshop of early directors, producers, volunteers from 2002 onwards; since 2017, the ambition to archive our organisation as an aspect of our cultural production under the project title ‘Archival Tendencies’. Together with Antti Ahonen (our association photographer and only member still present since 2002), Andrew Paterson has been exploring ideas about how to make archival work participatory and not ‘deadly boring’. Ahonen organised a retrospective exhibit in MUU Gallery in 2017 assembling (Koelse association of experimental electronics) and a Pixelache Festival digital photo selection. Note, there is an estimated 80,000 photos of our Festivals, as well as over 1000 contributors to our festivals over the years, and over 50 organising members over the years in Finland alone. 

In summer 2020, we started a new initiative with a workshop led by DMX Systems (Berlin, DE; Kimito, FI) which introduced a semantic database to assist our process in mapping & identifying social (people) - event relationships in the organisation over the years. DMX workshop for Pixelache introduced the very basics of the DMX knowledge management web client tool. The aim of the workshop was to study the feasibility of DMX for the Archival Tendencies project, ie starting by mapping the long and diverse history of Pixelache festivals, their participants, numerous events, and organizations involved. DMX is a semantic data platform, designed and engineered for managing unstructured and often messy data for the computer-readable format, and as an open-source tool provides future proof integration to manual note-taking and automated data management alike, without the fear of vendor locking. This workshop identified further members who are interested in the potential of semantic meta-data for narratives of past, present and future/speculative activities, and sets up a framework for new representational visualisations, and archival or organisational mapping processes. 

Additional events in autumn-winter 2020, called ‘Looking Backwards Looking Forwards’ organised by Antti Ahonen and Jenni Jauhiainen (which uncovered and remixed in a live discussion event old video footage from past festivals), and ‘Gathering of Elders’ which as the name suggests gathered together into one occasion a catch up of festival contributors from 2003-2010, leading to oral interviews conducted by Arlene Tucker in 2021. 

Recent activity and members in the association has led towards more sound and radio programming, including recent skill-development workshops in online radio broadcasting and the Festival 2021 festival which featured audio. All these precedents of activity lead well to combine towards the case example for CreaTures research project. Furthermore, the project lead Andrew Paterson, will be involved in the Finnish Media Arts Network’s MEHI archival project, and will benefit from co-alignment of meta-data education and association data processing submitted to that project also. 

The production of a final artefact for CreaTures is proposed here to be a prototype touch-sensitive physical interface ‘map’ (for example, a slate made of clay with ridges and bumps, and conductive ink connected to micro-controllers playing audio files) that accesses metadata and data from an database of events and processes, using audio voice-samples-as-vignettes to deliver content to the inter-actors with the archive.


Pixelache ‘About’ page:

Pixelache Festival portfolio /annual reports 2008-2019:

Open Map Workshop (2012):

Koelse+Pixelache 15 years exhibition at MUU Gallery, Pixelache Helsinki Festival (2017):

Ferment Lab Strasbourg exhibition by Agnieszka Pokrywka, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Nathalie Aubret, using Bare Conductive interface (2017-2018):  

Bare Conductive interface circuits:

Looking Backwards Looking Forwards (2020):

Gathering of Elders (2020):