Reassemble Lab 5: Practising Permacomputing

October - December 2023, Amsterdam


Reassemble Lab 5: Practising Permacomputing

Reusing Technologies For Digital Resilience

Can we grow a new practice of computation? After completing the 2023 festival, our team will start the next part of the FIBER Reassemble Lab programme. This autumn is dedicated to Practising Permacomputing; a concept and a nascent community of practice-oriented around issues of resilience and regenerativity in computer and network technology derived, among others, from permaculture principles. As part of this community, space is offered to makers and thinkers in digital culture (and other connected areas) to put the fundamentals and applications of permacomputing into practice through a series of workshops, a meetup, and a concluding day of public presentations with guests. Join us to explore permacomputing futures!

Our goal is to work together towards (re)using digital technology within the boundaries of our planet, build upon ecological systems, and preparing for an adapted form of computation within the reality of a climate emergency. Learn how to reuse ‘obsolete’ computers and devices, explore what’s behind the walls of a data centre and connect plants and electronics.

Join us for one or more of our upcoming workshops, symposium and read all about it below!


What is permacomputing and why is it important?

Said with tongue in cheek, permacomputing is a radically slightly more sustainable approach to computer and network technology inspired by permaculture. It is both a concept and a small nascent community of practice-oriented around issues of resilience and regenerativity in digital technology derived, among others, from permaculture principles. In a time where computing epitomises industrial waste, permacomputing encourages the maximising of hardware lifespans, minimising energy use and focussing on the use of already available computational resources.

The current rapid expansion of digital ecosystems is only made possible by using natural resources. These resources are finite and build the very environment sustaining our lives. As such, we must treat them with care and insist on resurfacing their significance. By creating a community, skills, and methodology around these issues, we hope to build long-term resilience and agency. Practising Permacomputing is organised together with some active members of the permacomputing community and is part of FIBER’s wider programme Rewilding Computation.

Read more about permacomputing here.




Lab overview

As a lab participant, you will be encouraged to take a closer look at your own practice and its role in the digital environment you inhabit. There are two options: participate in one or more of our workshops and/or join one of the public lecture activities. The workshops will introduce you to some of the tools and approaches to experiment with, in order to practice a more balanced, informed relationship with the computer technology that surrounds all of us. You will also be able to contribute with your perspective, methods, artistic practice, and skills of all nature. The symposium is a meeting place for different currents that make up permacomputing. Each workshop is created and led by active members of the emergent permacomputing community.

Have you ever wanted to know more about how the cloud works and how to build your own? Do you want to know what’s behind the walls of a data centre? Or how to build and visualise the connection between technology and nature? Then join us for one or more of our upcoming workshops!



Workshops | How to participate

The workshops welcome a diverse audience, from beginners to experts, interested in learning more about and contributing to a permacomputing way of life.

Each workshop is created and led by members of the emergent permacomputing community and starts to collectively explore alternative ideas, exchange knowledge and cultivate long-term resilience and agency in our digital landscape. To get a better understanding of participants, their needs and expectations, we ask everyone to fill in a short questionnaire before purchasing a ticket.


Do you have some questions left? Tap the button below to jump to frequently asked questions about the Reassemble Lab, or reach out to us directly.





Workshop 1 – The Cloud is Just my Old Computer | Creating a permacomputing server

13 & 14 October, Amsterdam
Hosted by: Aymeric Mansoux & Lukas Engelhardt

Over the course of two days, you will learn to turn your antique hardware into a functional server that can provide some network services. You will gain enough knowledge to continue exploring this alternative cloud by yourself. Previous experience in system administration is not needed to join. You do need to bring an old computer, to start your journey within permacomputing.



Workshop 2 – Imagination above Productivity | Resurfacing and scaling the digital ecosystem around us

17 & 18 November, Amsterdam
Hosted by: Ola Bonati

Join us on a data walk to Amsterdam Science Park, where we will explore the contrast between the infrastructure of data centres and their surrounding environment. We will shed, share, and explore new tools for fostering collective imagination beyond productivity quotas and implement them in the design session. This workshop is open for anyone to join and no preparations are needed.



Workshop 3 – Networking with Nature | Connecting plants and second-hand electronics

30 November & 1 December, Amsterdam
Hosted by: Michal Klodner & Brendan Howell

In this two day workshop, participants will collaborate to build a small cybernetic system integrating plants, humans and electronics. Construct a small, sustainable “network of care” – a living laboratory using second-hand electronics and our low-powered micro-server. Participants do not need special skills or knowledge, although some experience with programming or electronics may be helpful.





Saturday, December 2, 2023
Amsterdam (Tolhuistuin)

What does it mean to practise resilience, regeneration, and sustainability in our digital world? How does this relate to art, design and cultural works? On December 2, a one-day symposium takes place at Tolhuistuin exploring

Contemporary societies are built upon digital infrastructures, with an insatiable demand for computing power predicated on a wasteful, excessive use of finite resources. Can we move away from this? We invite makers and thinkers to reimagine, rebuild, and rewild our approach to computational technology, culture and aesthetics. Our one-day meeting place invites everyone interested in cross-pollination between electronics recycling and regenerative agricultural considerations, rethinking big and harmful tech, challenges of repairing machines and computers, and its relationship to culture and beyond.

Join the free symposium, presented by FIBER and the Unsustainable Research Group of the Willem de Kooning Academy, to explore principles and practices of permacomputing – inspired by permaculture – and neighbouring communities. We will unpack the problematic notion of sustainability within computer and network technology, while learning from other fields and disciplines.

First speakers: Marloes de Valk, Sunjoo Lee, Marie Verdeil. More TBA.
Moderators: Shailoh Phillips & Abdo Hassan



Research opportunities

We are looking for Journalists and Researchers

We invite both professional journalists and studying researchers (bachelor and master students, Ph.D. researchers) to join parts of FIBER’s upcoming series of workshops around alternative and more sustainable approaches to computer and network technologies.
With this open call for journalists and researchers, we offer the opportunity to conduct research during and after the lab. This research can be done within the context of someone’s studies or thesis, as well as for the development of a media item or essay.

We offer several spots to visit the lab for free, work together with our team and the permacomputing group, and access the work and research of our speakers and participants. In return, we ask for the development of concrete outcomes: from media items to written articles.

FIBER is dedicated to sharing the knowledge and socially relevant topics dealt with in the labs in an open and accessible way within the public domain. Furthermore, FIBER wants to support students and newcomers within the writing sphere, by offering opportunities to develop their practice within the labs. For these purposes, we seek cooperation with journalists and researchers.

Are you interested in writing for FIBER? Get in touch with us by emailing Allegra Greher.

What is Reassemble?

FIBER Festival’s Lab for Art, Technology, and Ecology

Reassemble is FIBER Festival’s multi-year lab programme, connecting the festival editions. The lab provides a temporary meeting space for researchers, thinkers and artistic makers, and aims to contribute to societal understanding of various planetary challenges in prototyping new and collaborative ways of thinking, knowing, and making. This takes place in partnership with research institutions, and other cultural organisations. The lab offers multi-day programmes consisting of workshops, collaborative working sessions, field trips, discussions, and public programmes. Various topics and developments are explored in thematic blocks – called ‘Parts‘ – and a wide variety of tool(kits), and methods are exchanged. More:



Accessibility and Equity

Based on improving accessibility and equity, we offer the opportunity to contact us if the indicated fee creates a barrier to participation. We are committed to discussing options and altered prices settings. This can also be done after submitting the open call information. If there are any questions about physical accessibility for the lab, please also contact us. We are available to help. Please contact Allegra Greher.

Diversity and Inclusion

As with all of FIBER’s Reassemble Lab’s this lab will strive to bring together a rich prism of perspectives – including feminist, queer, non-binary, trans and voices of colour – to share resources, time and space with many different imaginations of our near-future societies. We warmly welcome participants from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds and people from LGBTQIA+ communities.

Despite some of the technical aspects of the lab, the workshops will be given in an accessible way, engaging with participants from various backgrounds, skills and knowledge. The lab will be a valuable environment for both newcomers as well as experts in the field of permacomputing.



Practising permacomputing is a collaboration between FIBER, the Permacomputing community and the WDKA Research Centre.