At the Crossroads

We organize this community meeting in a time when AI is currently experiencing a massive upsurge in popularity and attention.

While the issues of exploitative and unfair labor conditions have been raised often in society and politics, their transformations in terms of automation and software-aided oppression, which are at the core of current AI development, are far from being widely understood. Many are aware that machine learning algorithms are improved by the underpaid work of many humans, but there is a lack of discussion, especially about the general process of extraction that transfers knowledge and energy from humans into AI systems and subsequently becomes wealth for a few. We see the field of AI as the next area where the game between privatization and commons will be played out. This topic will play a central role at AMRO24, also in view of the festival's roots in the open source and creative commons scene, where sharing knowledge as a commons plays an important role for creativity and community.

From a sustainability perspective, the most successful technological developments (see AI or blockchain-based NFTs) are becoming less and less compatible with concepts such as resource conservation, recycling and climate justice, which are playing an increasingly important role in other areas of human activity. Although the digital is repeatedly presented as a "counterpoint" to the physical reality, it is now known that the Internet consumes more and more energy and resources. However, there is a lack of viable models and, above all, inspiring examples to influence our actions.

Moreover, it seems more and more absurd to work on artistic programs under the current social and geopolitical situation. Wars are breaking out in the Middle East, anti-social radicalization and nationalism are on the rise. As philosopher Santiago Zabala (AMRO 2020 participant) says, the greatest emergency of our time is the absence of emergency. As a community concerned with technology for society, AMRO is appalled by how the machinery of war and media control is embedded in the same logic of exploitation, profit and conquest. If it is not a software or protocol that will save the world, then it is definitely a software suite that will contribute to its downfall.

To position itself in this state of paralysis, dancing at the crossroads, the 2024 Art Meets Radical Openness Festival focuses on alternatives to AI systems and exploring the limits of digital sustainability. The festival's program focuses on three areas: the unhype of AI and its understanding as the latest and most extensive structure of computational extraction; the reflection on possible forms of computational degrowth and community infrastructures; and finally, the construction of spaces for dissent, where to learn how to act against the pervasive computational logic.


Machine Conditioning & Weighted Networks

In his research on "Unhype Artificial Intelligence", artist and researcher Francis Hunger proposes new terms to avoid the metaphorical and misleading mysticism of intelligence. Instead of "artificial intelligence", we should speak of "machine conditioning" and "weighted networks" in order to take a sober look at these technologies and their inner workings. With a similar approach, this festival focus examines the consequences of AI systems for data collection and knowledge generation, as well as the tension between data and interpretation.

Computational Degrowth & Permacomputing

The second focus of the festival includes practices of "computational degrowth" to take concrete steps towards sustainability in IT. This does not mean the endless optimization of overweight systems to degrow to zero percent, to make us feel better in the paradigm of endless growth. With the growing impact of the climate crisis, we are exploring models of low-power computing, solar power and solar-powered web servers that can make a tangible difference. The Permacomputing community has already done extensive research on this topic and will share their methodology and knowledge with the AMRO community.

Dancing at the Crossroads

"On the third Wednesday of each month, there is an informal gathering of the local Servus community. The first title, „Dancing at the Crossroads,“ was initially inspired by an article about AI that was written by a member of this community ( and some discussions that followed. After a longer discussion about permacomputing at one of these gatherings, there was a discussion about whether to focus AMRO this year on one issue or to try to find the interconnections between multiple issues that we are passionate about, but without being so overwhelmed by poly-crises that we become paralyzed. Those keywords came out of those conversations."
Full interview with Les Nouveaux Riches

At the Crossroads,
Die Referentin #35
März/April/Mai 2024

"[…] The image of the crossroads was suggested by community member Patrick Derieg in his article calling for more engagement with AI1, but it provided a good grounding for the climate emergency and the urgency of addressing its impacts.

However, after the attacks on Israel on October 7th and the subsequent Israeli invasion of Gaza, the international political context has changed dramatically, expanding our festival theme with questions about political, social and ethical aspects of war and conflict in general. The general political/war situation is linked to a feeling of powerlessness, shock and paralysis, the failure of an idea of political and diplomatic endeavour, the feeling of being at a crossroads and not knowing which way to go. Here the idea of dance becomes a kind of oscillation of discomfort.

As a community concerned with technology in society, we think about how network technologies contribute to all of this, as machines of war and media control use the logic of militarisation, exploitation, profit and conquest that is also used in the capitalist economy. We do not believe that one program or one protocol alone will save the world, but we do believe that software and technologies are actively contributing to and benefiting from the current crisis, and we want to discuss that too. We do not forget that the Internet has been and is still being developed in a military context, and military operations are also laboratories where the next technologies and concepts for later deployment (and commercialisation) are tested under stress. […]

At the crossroads leading to such a complex multi-crisis, #AMRO24 aims to be a space for discussion and resistance, for sharing and learning together on contemporary issues of our networked times. AMRO has invited its community of artists and technologists, activists and developers to contribute with work that develops forms of protest and dissent against the normative, extractive and anti-social technological mainstream; imagines forms of computational degrowth and permacomputing principles; and deals with the consequences of a perhaps resistive rise of total AI."

Full article at

Under the Calculative Gaze /
Interview to Sanela Jahić on

"Under the Calculative Gaze highlights, on one hand, the indiscreet way in which AI looks at our lives and how we are exposed to it, and on the other hand, the potential change in our behaviour to meet the future new norm that it will end up imposing on us. But let’s not forget to trust in our ability to organise ourselves collectively and take action against injustice."

Full article at


AMRO24 Open Call

At the crossroads leading to a complex multi-crisis, #AMRO24 aims to create spaces of resistance against the technological monoculture. It invites its community of artists and technologists, activists and developers to contribute with work envisioning forms of computational degrowth and permacomputational principles; developing with forms of protest and dissent to the normative, extractive and anti-social technological mainstream; and dealing with the consequences of a perhaps resistible rise of total AI.

While it is certainly true that in the present situation the need for action is ever increasing, the upcoming issue of AMRO refuses to conform to any simplification of reality. As a community located at the intersection of radical art practices and open source philosophies, this festival provides a space to envision alternative models of digitalization, as well as the liberatory social forms that flourish with them.

In an increasingly extractive technological condition, with the approaching signals of climate catastrophe in mind, we dance at the crossroads, oscillating between all possible states and conditions, occupying both roads, creating space for imagining alternatives, and aiming to reseed forms of resistance.

From "Flirting with Burnouts / Looking at Points Tipping / Reseeding Resistance" into "Dancing at the Crossroads"

Read the interview published at Digital Meets Culture: