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Pixelache Festival 2016 will take place from September 22nd to 25th in Helsinki. The festival, named ‘Interfaces for Empathy’, explores possibilities of the shift towards the understanding of human species as a balanced part of the ecosystem we live within. For a long time humankind has known about the challenge of overconsumption of natural resources that eg. cause climate disruption, loss of biodiversity, pollution and extinction of species. Nevertheless, the knowledge on its own does not seem to lead to rapid and significant change in our behaviour.

At the same time, the ever increasing and profound technological changes that alter our environment and living habitat in myriad of ways is often disguised and hidden from us. On an individual level, we also experience constant profound technological changes that alter our perceptual experience. It can be argued that on many levels the increase of information and complexity of the devices mostly seems to promote information consumption and not awareness of the changes to the structures of our habitat. Many of the changes in our perceptual processes through mediated technological processes indeed seem to push us further away from the embodied experience and alter our experience of the lived environment that supports our life.

The idea that the festival explores, and the way is seeks to connect these observed trajectories, is one of empathy. Is it possible, through this very basic ability to sense or identify, to change the narrative of the human-kind? Could empathy be one of the key elements in reconnecting us with our ecosystem and ourselves? Can we experience empathy towards whole ecosystems? After all, empathy is the element that has enabled humans to work together and collaborate in order to flourish as species. The festival wants to question and propose that maybe empathy could be learned, found or especially re-found through eg. bodily presence, experimental communication and embodied and alternate visions of perception.

This year Pixelache Festival’s main venue is the former Lapinlahti hospital area, with Lapinlahden Lähde as a partner organisation. Other festival venues are Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, MUU Gallery and Helsinki City Winter Garden.

'Interfaces for Empathy' festival is co-directed by Mari Keski-Korsu and Petri Ruikka. The programing has been supported by Pixelache members and an advisory group consisting of artists Laura Beloff and Egle Oddo and researchers/cognitive scientists Katri Saarikivi and Valtteri Wikström.

If you’re interested in contacting the festival organisers, please see the contact page or email to festival @ pixelache . ac

Pixelache Festival is generously supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, the City of Helsinki Cultural Office, Kone Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and AVEK – The Promotion Center for Audiovisual Culture.