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Interrogating Computational Approaches to Art

Omayeli Arenyeka, Neta Bomani
March 28, 2024 to April 25, 2024 (5 classes)
Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm EST
Online (Zoom)
$750 Scholarships available learn more...
Applications closed on February 4, 2024

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Interrogating Computational Approaches to Art is a class for examining the poetic computation we make beyond our intentions, to consider how personal, historical, and social realities as well as the nature of the medium of computation might impact how our work is consumed, how meaning is being derived and what outcomes it makes possible. Using techniques and concepts from the disciplines of literature, philosophy, HCI, and ethics we’ll work on creating a framework for raising and contemplating the aesthetic and ethical questions surrounding a computational art practice.


Course of Study

  • The nature of poetic computation: What is a poetic computation work made of? What are its materials? It’s affordances? What is inherent in its nature? When we try to critique a story we reach for the plot, characters, setting. For a photograph: the subject, the context, technical details like exposure, lighting, staging. What do we reach for when we want to critique a poetic computation piece? Where lies its power? Its appeal? Its limitations? What are the ethical considerations?
  • How the nature of poetic computation can negate intention and impact consumption, interpretation: How is meaning constructed from a poetic computational art piece? What constitutes “paratext” when thinking about a data scraping project or a computer generated poem? How does the interactive nature of many computational works complicate our perception of it?
  • Poetic Computation as an Evocative Object: How can we conceptualize a piece of poetic computation as an evocative object: something with context, associations, networks. What are the social and material conditions that make this piece of work possible? What baggage do we bring along? What baggage does the technology bring?


Time & Workload
  • Participants can expect to spend no more than 2 hours outside of class each week on class readings and assignments. It's a discussion based class, so participants are invited and encouraged to share their thoughts on the lectures, readings, and in-class exercises.
  • No materials required!
Learning Outcomes

Together we will develop:

  • An understanding of the concerns, affordances and potentials specific to poetic computation and the ethical implications.
  • A framework and a language for thinking and talking about works of poetic computation.
  • An understanding of the different forms of poetic computation and what they “authorize, allow, afford, encourage, permit, suggest, influence, block, render possible, forbid and so on…”

Is this class for me?

This class may be for you if:

  • You have some interest in thinking and talking about poetic computation and its underpinnings.
  • You tend to think deeply about art projects you like or dislike and why (or you'd like to do so!)
  • You’d like to get in the habit of talking about art projects and articulating: what it’s doing, why it might be doing that, how it’s working, how it’s not.
  • You enjoy crit sessions (not necessarily being the subject of them, just engaging with someone’s work)
  • You agree with the statement: "Maybe the work is staying with the questions."

This class may NOT be for you if:

  • You’re interested in a class about general tech ethics (privacy, surveillance, algorithms of oppression, implications of crypto/AI/ML)
  • It’s important for you to arrive at a definitive conclusion of a project or technique being “bad” or “good.”
  • You think intention is all that matters when creating something!
  • You tend to say it’s not that deep often.

Meet the Teachers


Omayeli Arenyeka

Yeli is a Nigerian artist, writer, and technologist based in Brooklyn. She primarily makes things that live on the internet. She is interested in the creative and critical possibilities of the web and data: its potentials for personal expression, solidarity and fostering disillusionment.

she/her · website · twitter · instagram


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.

any pronouns · website · twitter · 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.

reach out with questions about access...

How do I apply?

Apply Now

What is a work of poetic computation you enjoy or respect or dismiss? Why do you feel that way towards it? What does it evoke in you?

Applications open until Applications closed on February 4, 2024.

You can expect to hear back from us about the status of your application on February 19, 2024. Please email us at with any questions you have.

more about what we look for in participants...

How much does it cost to attend?

For 5 classes, it costs $750 + processing fees, for a one-time payment. We also offer payment plans. Participants can schedule weekly or monthly payments of the same amount. First and last payments must be made before the start and end of class. *Processing fees apply for each payment.

SFPC processes all payments via Withfriends and Stripe. Please email if these payment options don't work for you.

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.

I can’t pay for SFPC. Can I come at a reduced rate, or for free?

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.

How can I help others to attend SFPC?

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.

What if I can’t go, can I get a refund?

  • Yes, we can give you 100% refund up to 10 days before class starts
  • 50% refund after 10 days, until the first day of the class
  • No refunds can be given after the first day of the class

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.