Interrogating Computational Approaches to Art
Omayeli Arenyeka, Neta Bomani
March 28, 2024 to April 25, 2024
Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm EST
Applications closed on
February 4, 2024
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.
Images courtesy of teachers.
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.
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
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.
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.
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