Founded in 2013, the School for Poetic Computation is an artist run space in New York that materializes as a hybrid of a school, residency and research group. A small group of students and faculty work closely to explore the intersections of code, design, hardware and theory. I was part of the Fall 2019 residency cohort, and have since been organizing programming with a focus on the critical theory of technology.
dark matters
This zine is a collective project of the critical theory of technology class, Dark Matters: Blackness, Surveillance, and the Whiteness of the Screen taught by American Artist. Sharing a namesake with Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, this class sought accountability to our mutual histories, taking a critical focus on identity, visibility, opacity, obfuscation, and automation, and how one reckons with the contention of their own body in public and in private. Together we questioned how to remain critical of legacy power structures that are embedded in the devices we interface with daily.
front & back
The "Dark Matters" zine, currently archived at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) alongside other printed matter derived at the School for Poetic Computation, contains original writing and illustration by SFPC students; was designed by myself, American Artist, Esther Bouquet and Allison Chan; and was risograph-printed by Secret Riso Club.
Code and Power
Seven Years of Poetic Computation is a retrospective exhibition that celebrated and presented material from the School of Poetic Computation's archives over the past seven years, displaying its pedagogy and philosophy on teaching art and computation. The exhibit specifically focused on computation as an artistic medium — spanning visual art, systems art and poetry — as well as critical perspectives on how computation impacts different communities in dramatically uneven ways. I was a co-curator of the exhibit, stewarding one of the three galleries titled "Code and Power."
exhibited work
"Code and Power" describes the way in which the technology of societal systems frequently reinforce economic and social inequalities, risking further marginalization of vulnerable communities. Exhibiting artists — who examined issues of access, automation, inclusion and machine bias — included American Artist, Andrew Badr, Bomani Oseni McClendon, Josh Michaels, Sean Catangui, Shannon Finnegan and Yeseul Song. The gallery existed alongside two others, "Time and Memory" and "Logic and Language" within the larger exhibition.
As part of the Seven Years of Poetic Computation exhibition, Nabil Hassein and I co-organized a critical theory retrospective discussion, inviting past teachers to be in conversation with the community. We organized the discussion around the relevance of critical theory of technology to: broader debates about inclusion, exclusion and machine bias; the ecological impact of computation; cultural expressions of and through computation; general social/political questions of who controls computation and to what ends, and how that might be different in the future than it is now.
event photos

role Organizer, designer and artist

duration 2019 — onwards

collaborators School for Poetic Computation

© Zainab Aliyu 2020. All rights reserved.