Web scraping is the process of automatically downloading and manipulating web content. It's a common practice in silicon valley, where companies large and small transform open html pages into commodified datasets. As an alternative, "Scrapism" is the practice of web scraping for artistic, emotional, and critical ends. By combining aspects of data journalism, conceptual art, and hoarding, it offers a methodology to make sense of a world in which everything we do is mediated by internet companies. These companies surveil us, exploit and financialize our experiences, and attempt to vacuum up every trace we leave behind. But in turn they also leave their own traces online, traces which when collected, filtered, and sorted can reveal or even intervene in power relations. In this class participants will learn how to scrape massive quantities of material from the web with Python, and then use this source material in projects that probe the politics and poetics of the internet. We will cover multiple web scraping techniques, as well as different techniques for manipulating and presenting textual content.
Technical topics will include: intro to Python, intro to HTML/CSS, web scraping, intro to natural language processing
There will be 3 to 4 projects throughout, with time for crits in class. Participants will benefit from some basic knowledge of python, command line, and html/css. Web scraping experience would also be a plus, but is not a strict requirement.
Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator whose work deals with data, surveillance, cops, natural language processing, and automation. He has exhibited work at Lincoln Center, SFMOMA, Pioneer Works, DIS, Ars Electronica, The New Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and his work has been covered in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Motherboard, Wired, the Atlantic, Forbes, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, the World Almanac, the Ellen Degeneres Show and elsewhere.
He has taught at ITP/NYU, The New School, and the School for Poetic Computation, and was formerly Magic Grant fellow at the Brown Institute at Columbia University, and Special Projects editor at the New Inquiry Magazine. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at UT Austin.
he/him · website · twitter · instagram
Ilona is an artist, extrovert, teacher and technologist who sees their work as love notes to themself, the world, and others. They work across mediums using music, poetry, code, drawing, and their jewish practice as tools of expression both publicly and privately. These days they are particularly interested in trans narratives of liberation, judaism as a site of ritual, visibility on and offline, and how we present ourselves and our work to the world.
they/them · instagram
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.
$1200 + Withfriends payment processing fees for 10 classes.
Upon payment, your space in the class will be reserved. We offer scholarships for those who cannot pay full tuition. Read more about scholarships below.
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.
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.
Interested in more learning opportunities at the School for Poetic Computation? Join our newsletter to stay up to date on future sessions and events, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Support our programming through scholarships. Get in touch over email.