Open call: Artists for Slow AI

Slow AI – Seeding alternative AI narratives

Inspired by the counter-movements of slow fashion and slow food, this project will investigate three emerging AI counter-narratives –Small AI 🐜, Ancestral AI 🐚, and Esoteric AI 🔮 – and explore what it might look like to incorporate them in our everyday practice. We will interrogate and publish critical AI discourse in a format that makes sense to us and our practices, namely zines and creative technology installations, and at project end we will publish an anthology – a hot compost pile of miro boards, zines, and art that we hope sparks new ways to think and talk about AI.

02_ Artist brief

AIxDESIGN will commission 3 artists to bring to life key findings and questions from our ongoing Slow AI research. One artist will be commissioned per Slow AI theme 👇

🎉 What we’re looking for

The objective of this commission is to translate the key concepts from Slow AI into an artwork piece that helps people ‘get’ key concepts from the research without having to labor over the research ‘report’. This artwork can serves as a commentary or build on specific Slow AI concepts.

  • Open to any mediums / formats. Here’s a long-list:
    • story-telling in interesting formats: time-based media like non-linear story-telling, games, audio walk, virtual worlds, site-specific, virtual, data storytelling, visual essays, experimental publishing
    • social performance: rituals, workshop formats, meditations, collective, individual
    • creative technology: open-source tool, a UI for a code-heavy tool; hardware + software, interactive website
    • something that fits into neither or goes across these categories
  • Bonus points for: interactive / experiential / participatory – something people can do, try, experiment with, experience
  • Outputs that help people think or learn or feel – provoke something 🙂
  • Publishable to web. Please note, your output doesn’t have to be web-first, we just want it to be easily referencable online.
    • e.g. if a site-specific installation, a virtual version and/or detailed photo / video documentation
    • e.g. a custom device, open-source code, video tutorials etc.

❌ What we’re not looking for

  • Purely aesthetic outputs
  • Work too difficult to understand for people outside the field / requiring deep knowledge or lots of reading

The 3 themes

02.a_ Small AI [Public]

🐜 **TLDR:** Small AI questions the dominance of large-scale models by addressing environmental impact, discriminatory language, and cultural preservation. It’s an invitation to use notions of fractals, friction, and fragmented-ness in nature and math to inspire ideas around Small AI and send ripples that shift practices around Big AI. It advocates for equitable, sustainable alternatives, prompting exploration of community-focused governance, and interconnectedness as pathways to more just futures. In this research we ask: **What is possible when our objective is cultural creation and preservation instead of scale or profit?**

Key concepts

  • Opportunities offered by small, tailored AI models and tools
    • Topics too “taboo” for off-the-shelf AI tools e.g. victim advocacy; war; culturally sensitive topics like race, gender, class, or sexual orientation
    • Topics too “niche” for off-the-shelf AI tools e.g. sub-cultures; majority minority narratives; training a model based on your artistic perspective or style, flora, people and things specific to a place, geography, or region
    • Comparative study of the resources required for Small AI vs. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – carbon, data, energy, etc.
      DIY hardware or data infrastructure for small AI

02.b_ Ancestral AI [Public]

🐚 TLDR: Ancestral AI explores natural and cultural temporalities to better understand how we might create alternatives to the culture of Big Tech’s AI development: ‘always-on,’ ‘fast-paced’ or ‘time-blind’. We document and investigate the wisdom of past generations, including time-tested approaches to building resilient complex systems.

In this research we ask: What can we learn from non-western and indigenous governance models, archiving practices, and data-led technologies?


Key concepts

  • Heritage ways of data collection, governance, decision-making
  • How might we honor our ancestors in this algorithmic age? How can we be good ancestors for future generations?
  • Cultural archives, oral histories, memory: forgetting, remembering

02.c_Esoteric AI [Public]

<aside> 🔮 TLDR: Esoteric AI challenges mainstream perceptions of AI as either disenchanted or enchanted, proposing alternative ways of seeing, sensing, and knowing AI that blur the seeming binary of magic and technology. Inspired by feminist philosophy and science and technology studies, Esoteric AI seeks to trouble the normative understandings of AI and reclaim the feminine and the enchanted from the dominant ways they are projected onto AI. Just as a séance is a collective process, so is our reimagining and reenchanting of AI.

In this research we ask: What can we learn from il/legitimate predictive technologies of the past – (feminist) practices like astrology, tarot, Farmer’s Almanac?


Key concepts

  • If AI represents two theories of knowledge – reason and memory – what do we lose and/or gain when we ignore the others like perception or emotion?
    • limits of logic
    • Impact of myths, folklore in AI
  • Ritual (summoning, spells)

03_ About this Open Call

We invite you to create art that will be published to the web and embedded on website as part of the Slow AI project, attributed to you – the artist.

If commissioned, each artist will work independently to create their artwork, meeting two times with the project team to present concepts, ask questions, and receive feedback as we iterate towards the final artwork. More details about delivery requirements can be found in Section 02_ Art Brief.

Important bits

  • Each artist will produce artwork published to the website. For more information about this artwork, refer to section What we’re looking for (above 👆).
  • At AIxD we work in the open as much as possible. As such we’ll ask you to maintain and artist log documenting your journey including key questions, challenges, and the decisions made to create the final artwork. With your consent, the AIxD Communications team may create behind-the-scenes content (social media, blog) about your process.
  • If your project includes code, we ask you open-source that code.
  • If you project requires a participatory element, the AIxD team can help support you plan, host, and document this participatory event.
  • This artwork will be developed in collaboration with the AIxD project team and each theme’s research lead. (Concept guidance and feedback)
  • Each artist will be paid €1500 stipend for their work (art & involvement). There is an additional €300 available for materials.

How to apply

DEADLINE: Monday, June 17th midnight CET


Slow AI / Artist Application 🐌

We welcome expressions of interest from artists and creative technologist who are interested in bringing to life the following ideas about AI. As part of the application, we want to better understand:

  • Your interest in your chosen Slow AI topic, and
  • Concepts, directions, and approaches you’d like to explore in your work
  • including visual submit with a public link (e.g. slides, board)

Please note: you can submit more than 1 application. Please limit each application to 1 concept.

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Event Details
  • Start Date
    May 27, 2024 8:00 am
  • End Date
    June 17, 2024 12:00 am
  • Status
  • Location
  • Organizer
  • Category
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Event Details
  • Start Date
    May 27, 2024 8:00 am
  • End Date
    June 17, 2024 12:00 am
  • Status
  • Location
  • Organizer
  • Category