At the core of SFPC is a self-reflexive prompt: What is poetic computation? Each convening of SFPC community members has a new opportunity to respond to this prompt with definition, interpretation, critique, embodied practice. This spring, SFPC returned to the core, inviting participants to facilitate new possibilities for this question.
What is Poetic Computation? What would technology feel like if it were designed by people who love us? How are the histories and presences of racialized oppression embedded in the jargon of hardware and software? Where is the poetry and satire in the ways power structures reveal themselves on the internet? How can we activate the imagination as a tool that can shape our present and open portals into the future, grounded in Black and Indigenous traditions of science and storytelling?
Poetic Computation is a prompt with a deep past, many presences, and infinitely possible futures. Participants joined our incredible group of teachers to play in these timelines, practice writing in poetry, prose, and code, and help redefine (always again) what poetic computation can be.
Spring 2022 was organized by Zainab Aliyu 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 and a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation. Neta Bomani Neta Bomani is a learner and educator who is interested in understanding the practice of reading and parsing information as a collaborative process between human and non-human computers. Neta’s work combines social practices, workshops, archives, oral histories, computation, printmaking, zines, and publishing, to create artifacts that engage abolitionist, black feminist, and do-it-yourself philosophies. Neta received a graduate degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Neta has taught at the School for Poetic Computation, the New School, New York University, Princeton University, the University of Texas, and in the after school program at P.S. 15 Magnet School of the Arts in Brooklyn, NY. Neta has studied under American Artist, Fred Moten, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Mariame Kaba, Ruha Benjamin, Simone Browne, and many others who inform Neta’s work. Neta’s work has appeared at the Queens Museum, the Barnard Zine Library, The Kitchen, and the Met Library. Neta is one of seven co-directors at the School for Poetic Computation, and one of two co-directors at Sojourners for Justice Press, an imprint of Haymarket Books. and Galen Macdonald 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. . It included classes with American Artist American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning 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. Zainab Aliyu 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 and a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation. Melanie Hoff As an artist, educator, and organizer, Melanie studies the role that technology plays in social organization and in reinforcing hegemonic structures. They are co-director of the School for Poetic Computation and a founding member of Hex House and the Cybernetics Library. Melanie strives to cultivate spaces of learning and feeling that encourage honesty and reconciliation for the ways we are shaped by systems of gender, racialization, class, and the trauma these systems inscribe upon our bodies. Sam Lavigne 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. Omayeli Arenyeka Yeli is a Nigerian artist, researcher, and technologist based in Brooklyn. Her work is twofold — she’s interested in the process of interrogating the mundane and fostering disillusionment through writing, data and satire as well as the critical and noncritical applications of making work that has little to no value whatsoever. Ashley Jane Lewis Ashley Jane Lewis is a new media artist with a focus on afrofuturism, bio art, social justice and speculative design. Her artistic practice explores black cultures of the past, present and future through computational and analog mediums including coding and machine learning, data weaving, microorganisms and live performance. Listed in the top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, her award winning work on empowered futures for marginalized groups has exhibited in both Canada and the US, most notably featured on the White House website during the Obama presidency. Her practice is tied to science and actively incorporates living organisms like slime mould and food cultures (kombucha and sourdough starters) to explore ways of decentralizing humans and imagine collective, multi species survival. Ashley is currently an Artist in Residence at Culture Hub NYC as well as part of the Culture Futures Track in the NEW INC year 7 cohort, an art, design and technology incubator run within the New Museum. Ilona Brand 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. Meghna Dholakia Meghna Dholakia is a designer and artist fascinated by individual, collective, and geologic narratives of transformation. She enjoys long walks and collecting interesting looking leaves. and Max Fowler Max Fowler is an artist and programmer working with offline-first software, mycology and community infrastructure. They are a contributor to PeachCloud, software that makes hosting peer to peer software on local low-power hardware more accessible. They are also a co-founder of KiezPilz (,kiezpilz.de,), a communal fungi cultivation group based in Berlin. They were a student at the School For Poetic Computation in 2016, and later a TA. They are one of the admins of sunbeam.city, and are interested in foraging, flip-phones, rust and html. .
Session promotion design by Zainab Aliyu.
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