Launch of Our Dossier: Natural Intelligence

Articles & Talks About a Post-Fossil Internet

07 | 11 | 22

The immense possibilities of today’s internet services, data centers, artificial intelligence, and rendered computer graphics have been made possible by a large supply of cheap energy sources: fossil fuels. The promises of yet another generation of AIs and metaverses are unthinkable without the endless extraction and flow of fossil energy. Many are already talking about ‘data warming’ as one of the strongly growing drivers of global warming. In what ways can we build towards low/non-carbon digital infrastructures, and an ecological internet?


FIBER’s Dossier: Natural Intelligence

This dossier provides some inputs, reflections and starting points to these questions. It is a first collection of articles, some interviews, recorded lectures and sources inspired by the fourth edition of our Reassemble Lab: Natural Intelligence . The lab was a meeting and working place for more than 40 art, design, and scientific practitioners, which took place from March 10 to 13.

Can we, by exploring alternative internet infrastructures based on earthly dynamics, low-carbon solutions, and ecological ethics, move towards a sustainable and regenerative internet? What role can design, creative coding, and artistic research play to envision and prototype a fundamentally different way of adapting our technological demands to natural cycles? To start addressing these topics, four interdependent and sometimes overlapping research areas are explored: Energy Literacy , Everyday Technologies , Collective Infrastructures, and Fossil Free Imaginaries .


Data practitioner, researcher, and writer Abdelrahman (Abdo) Hassan, in his article ‘How (Not) to Talk about the Environment’, questions the ways in which an energy literacy can develop when we (and who is we?) talk about our relationship between technology and energy. Researcher and storyteller Ola Bonati dives into the promises and narratives linked to Web 3.0 in her article ‘Catfished by Web 3.0’. We added an already existing interview with our lab co-curator Mick Jongeling, which was part of an earlier lab. In the interview ‘Embedded Metaphors of the Digital’, he shed light on the intangible impact of our interaction with the Internet, and how design and worldbuilding could produce alternative realities.

In her article ‘Listening as Non-Extractive Technology’, researcher and musician Rachel J. Wilson uses listening as a non-extractive technology that provides space to question existing digital infrastructures and the ways we interact with (in) this space. Mixed media artist Ål Nik (Alexandra Nikolova) looks at what collective ways of designing and building digital infrastructures are necessary to bring about a paradigm shift, in her piece on ‘Collective Infrastructures: How to Understand Collectivity’. Artist-curator and researcher Cristina Napoleone reflects on natural intelligences and what a biophilic internet could be. Curator and FIBER director Jarl Schulp shares his brief observation ‘Scifi Perspectives on a Solar Society’ on the imagination of fictional societies living with extreme sun patterns.