The School for Poetic Computation is an experimental school in New York that was founded in 2013. Our school supports interdisciplinary study in art, code, hardware and critical theory. It is a place for unlearning and learning.
Our programs challenge the capitalistic, heteronormative and patriarchal canon of social and computer sciences. SFPC attracts self-motivated creative thinkers and radical teachers. All participants are treated as collaborators and we formally encourage the power of learners to determine their experience & education. The unique culture of our institution is one based on communal care and solidarity across social differences. This pedagogical space framed in intimacy ideally allows for participants that are LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, and/or Disabled to feel empowered that their ideas are important, necessary and central.
Note: Our school has been undergoing significant transformation since 2020. Learn more about SFPC's recent history here, here and here.
We seek to put together a cohort of people with diverse backgrounds and interests who will have a lot to offer to each other as peers. We center people from identities and backgrounds that are often excluded from art, technology, and higher education spaces, and look for a cohort with a wide range of passions, skills, experiences, and technical abilities. Above all, we look for opeess to building a shared experience around learning, critical theory, art making, and technology.
The School for Poetic Computation does not currently have a physical location and since Spring 2020 we have been operating and learning online as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2015 to 2020, we were located in the Westbeth Artists Community of West Village, New York City, on the unceded land of the Lenape people. We studied within the computational history lineage of Bell Labs that occupied that space many years before. We are in search for a new temporary and permanent space; please contact us if you have any leads!
All members and guests of the SFPC community agree to uphold SFPC’s Community Agreement when entering community spaces, both physically and online. When we commit to actively participating in the social material of our learning, we can best work together to create boundaries that make it easier for everyone to feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
Our school is cooperatively stewarded by artists, teachers, and creative practitioners who are engaged and self-motivated in communities of practice spaing art, computation, poetry, critical theory, publishing and community organizing.
Zainab "Zai" Aliyu is an artist and cultural worker whose work is about the material affect of the "immaterial." She contextualizes the cybernetic and temporal entanglement embedded within societal dynamics to understand how all sociotechnological systems of control are interconnected, and how we are all implicated through time. She often dreams, experiments and inquires through built virtual environments, printed matter, video, archives, writing, installation and community-participatory (un)learning.
Zai is currently a 2022 fellow at NYU Tisch's Future Imagination Collaboratory, design director for the African Film Festival at the Film at Lincoln Center in NYC, a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation, and is tending to her creative practice at a collective studio warehouse named Soft Surplus.
she/her · email · website · instagram
Todd Anderson is a digital poet, software artist and educator interested in building machines to deliver creative language, experimental internet performances and computer viruses as an art form. In addition to organizing with SFPC he helps out with Babycastles and The Illuminator projection collective. He is perhaps best known as the host and curator of WordHack, the monthly language+technology talk series every third Thursday at Babycastles (now online).
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American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, begiing with their legal name change in 2013. Their work engages anti-Black state violence, surveillance, and criminalization, such as predictive policing. Artist is a 2022 Creative Capital and United States Artists grantee, and a recipient of the 2021 LACMA Art & Tech Lab Grant. They have exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA PS1; Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Kunsthalle Basel, CH; and Nam June Paik Center, Seoul. They have had solo museum exhibitions at The Queens Museum, New York and The Museum of African Diaspora, California. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, and Huffington Post. Artist is a part-time faculty at Parsons, NYU and UCLA and a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation.
they/he · email · website · instagram · twitter
Neta Bomani is an abolitionist, learner and educator who is interested in parsing information and histories while making things by hand with human and non-human computers. Neta’s work combines archives, oral histories, computation, social practices, printmaking, paper engineering, zine making and workshops to create do it yourself artifacts. Neta received a graduate degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Neta is currently an Instructor in the Collaborative Arts Department at New York University. Neta is also a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation. Neta has studied under Mariame Kaba, American Artist, Simone Browne, Ruha Benjamin, Fred Moten and many others who inform Neta’s work.
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As an artist, educator, and organizer, Melanie studies the role that technology plays in social organization and in reinforcing hegemonic structures. As co-director of the School for Poetic Computation, Soft Surplus, and the Cybernetics Library, Melanie strives to cultivate spaces of learning and feeling that encourage honesty and permit people to overcome divisions created by systems of gender, racialization, and class and by the trauma that these systems inscribe upon our bodies.
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Galen Macdonald is an artist and arts organizer based in Tkaronto/Toronto whose work currently straddles hand craft, kinetic sculpture, poetry, and new media. He uses whatever tools are available to make delicate and limited tools for communication.
Galen has a Masters in Design from Goldsmith's, University of London, and is an alum of the School for Poetic Computation intensive program. He has run community-facing work shops at Yestermorrow Design Build School and InterAccess Media Art Centre in Toronto. His work has been shown at School for Poetic Computation (NYC), Magic, the Gallery (Austin, TX), Long Exposure Festival (Toronto), Roundtable Residency (Toronto), and Whippersnapper Gallery (Toronto).
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Celine Wong Katzman is Curator at Rhizome and serves as one of seven co-directors at the School for Poetic Computation. Previously she was a NYSCA Curatorial Fellow at the Queens Museum. Celine is committed to supporting creative practitioners experimenting with new media, particularly those who engage in a thoughtful and community-oriented approach. Her writing appears in publications such as The Nation, Art in America, Rhizome, as well as in the New Museum's exhibition catalog, The Art Happens Here: Net Art's Archival Poetics and Paper Monument's Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the arts. She holds a B.A. in Visual Art with honors from Brown University.
she/her · email · website · instagram · twitter
Essie (Es) is here to be a listening ear, advocate, resource guide, mediator, & anything in between. Please let us know if you need their services and we will gladly connect you with them.
More about them:
Es is a queer, second-gen, mixed race non-binary femme - who loyally reps the east coast & what they like to call the "jersey special!" of identities' aka the tristate jew-rican milieu (🇷🇺/ 🇨🇷!). Es has had the privilege of dreaming & building in queer/trans, disabled, movement spaces in NYC for the last decade-and-a-half. Es has also worked as a social worker for the last ten of those years- utilizing their tendency for encyclopedic nerdism to build an extensive rolodex of useful programs, services, organizations ranging from formal medical care/legal services to grassroots resources and collective care resources throughout the city. Es's interests include poetry, graphic novels, spiritualism, and the New York public libraries. Es is a fervent believer in the power of human connection, resilience, & in the sacred art of oral story-telling.
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Emma Rae Bruml, Luke Demarest, Nabil Hassein
Tiri Kananuruk, Taylor Levy, Sebastian Morales, Che-wei Wang
Taeyoon Choi, Lauren Gardner, Casey Gollan, Zach Lieberman, Jen Lowe, Amit Pitaru
Our programs are conducted in spoken English with audiovisual materials such as slides, code examples and video. Online programs are held over Zoom.
Please take care and be well. We hope you are comfortable in your housing, living, and working situation in general. Never hesitate to ask us for advice and reach out if you have accessibility requests or need any assistance during your time at SFPC. We will work closely with you towards co-creating the most accommodating learning environment for your needs.
If you can’t pay full tuition, we really still want you to apply. Our application will ask you how much you can pay. We will offer subsidized positions in all of our classes, once each one has enough participants enrolled that we’re able to do so.
We have also started a scholarship fund, and we will be offering additional scholarships as community members redistribute their wealth through SFPC. We direct scholarship funds towards participants who are low-income, Black, Indigenous, racialized, gendered, disabled, Queer, trans, oppressed, historicially excluded and underrepresented.
Right now, tuition is SFPC’s main source of income, and that is a problem. It means that we can only pay teachers, pay for space, and organize programs when participants pay full tuition to attend. Tuition is a huge barrier to entry into the SFPC community, and it disproportionately limits Black participants, indigenous participants, queer and trans participants, and other people who are marginalized, from participating. Scholarships are not a long term solution for us, but in the short and medium term we hope to offer them more while we work towards transforming SFPC’s financial model.
We are so thankful to our generous donors and members for supporting scholarships in such a direct way. For SFPC to be the kind of place the community has always meant it to be, it needs to become a platform for wealth redistribution. If you are a former participant, prospective participant, or friend of the school, and you have the financial privilege to do so, please donate generously. There is enough wealth in this community to make sure no one is ever rejected because of their inability to pay, and becoming that school will make SFPC the impactful, imaginative, transformative center of poetry and justice that we know it can be. We know that inside this community there is more capacity for mutual aid and redistribution, and we are always looking for help elsewhere.
We're committed to radical transparency and keeping the public informed on how we make and spend money and we publish our finances here.
We are always open to sharing our story with others. For press inquiries, please contact us.