• December 15, 2018. 1~6pm
  • School for Poetic Computation and the Michelson Studio, 155 Bank St, NYC
  • Free event. Registration is full with a waitlist, Limited seating
  • Real Time Captioning, disability and access needs will be supported
  • A portion of the event will be live-streamed and open for remote participation

Code Ecologies is an open forum to explore the environmental impact of computation. This public event is organized by a group of faculty and alumni from the School for Poetic Computation who are passionate about environmental justice. Through presentations and discussions, we will explore the negative influence of computational technologies and network infrastructure on the natural environment, and the precarious conditions they create for the habitat we share among various species.

“Digital” is falsely seen as virtual or non physical, when in fact “cloud computing” doesn’t happen in the clouds – there are massive data centers, cooling facilities, fiber optic cables, mineral extraction, electronic waste, and other physical infrastructures. On the other side of the arms race for smarter and faster AI, there’s a lack of understanding and accountability – individual or organizational – for how our use of machine learning, blockchain or ‘whatever new’ impacts the Earth. Tech companies offer forgiveness and even encouragement for misusing and abusing electronic devices, for example on Black Friday. Online services and apps create an illusion of seamless interaction between computational devices and data which evaporate into thin air after their life cycles. None of this make-believe is true. We need to challenge the disparity between the conveniences of smart devices, and our complicity with destructive technology, as users and creators.

At the School for Poetic Computation, we approach code from artistic, poetic, critical and philosophical perspectives. Considering how poetry explores the transformative qualities of the language and computation enables transfer of information at scale, we hope to bring together activists, poets, scientists, artists and community members to discuss “What should we do about it?”

Image by Sonia Boller.

Co-organizers

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, a co-founder of School for Poetic Computation, 2017-2018 fellow at Data and Society. Taeyoon is researching distributed network with a critical perspective towards technology, ethics, justice and sensitivity to the concept of personhood.

Nabil Hassein has worked professionally as a software developer and a public school teacher, and has also done grassroots political organizing in New York City, primarily for police and prison abolition.

Sonia Boller is passionate about creating immersive, interactive experiences. She worked with non-profit organizations to help them manage and visualize their data, and loves the idea of making complex data simpler through visualizations.

Speakers and facilitators

Ingrid Burrington writes, makes maps, and tells jokes about places, politics, and the feelings people have about both. She’s the author of Networks of New York An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure. Her work has been supported by Eyebeam, Data & Society, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Jamie Tyberg is a Brooklyn-based movement fundraiser and climate activist. Born in South Korea, Jamie immigrated to the United States in 2002 and currently serves as the Development Director for New York Communities for Change, a grassroots organization of low-income members fighting against racial oppression and economic injustice. Jamie also helped found the National Ecosocialist Working Group of the Democratic Socialists of America, building a robust network of climate activists and organizers across the nation to combat the climate crisis.

Elizabeth Guffey works at the intersection of art, design and disability studies. Her book Designing Disability: Symbols, Space and Society (Bloomsbury) that designs like the International Symbol of Access or “wheelchair symbol” can alter the environment, making people more disabled or less, depending on the design’s planning and use. She is also Founding Editor of the academic journal Design and Culture. Guffey currently heads the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism and Theory at the State University of New York, Purchase College.

Odile Joannette is the executive director of Wapikoni Mobile. She has been an advocate for Indigenous rights for close to 20 years, striving to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people. She serves on the Order of Montreal’s Board and has been handpicked to be one of 15 members of Montreal’s Table on Diversity, Inclusion and the Fight Against Discrimination. She is a founding member and administrator of both DestiNATIONS: Carrefour International of Indigenous Arts and Cultures, and the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK.

Ian Fried has been in the field of science and sustainability education for the last 5 years. He currently works at BioBus, a non-profit that promotes science education in New York City through their two mobile laboratories. He taught in public, charter and private schools in NYC and North India. After being back in the US, he decided he was going to try to send Zero Waste to landfills in his everyday life.

Ed Bear is a performing artist and engineer. His work with robotics, sound, video, transmission and collective improvisation investigates the questionable calibration of perception. As an educator and designer committed to an open source world, he researches and practices material reuse and as a civil responsibility.

Anne Pasek is a doctoral student of media studies. Her research tracks changing relations to carbon across media, historical periods, and contemporary scales & sites across the globe. Her wider interests include social reproduction feminism, STS, and both old & new materialisms.

Ritwick Ghosh is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Studies in New York University (NYU). Ritwick studies how public and private institutions harness the power of information to both advance, resist, and perform economically rational environmental policy strategies.

Brian House is an artist who investigates more-than-human temporalities. He recently completed a PhD in Computer Music and Multimedia at Brown University and is currently a Mellon Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Spatial Research.

Evan Tachovsky is a data scientist and program officer at the Rockefeller Foundation. Evan builds and adapts computational, organizational, and financial machines to reduce inequity.

Cori Kresge is a NYC based dancer, collaborator, writer, and teacher. Kresge graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in dance and the Dean’s Award. In 2016 Kresge staged Cunningham’s Field Dances, an improvisational score, on students of CNDC, Angers, France. She has also been a member of José Navas/Compagnie Flak, and Stephen Petronio Company. Kresge currently collaborates and performs with various artists including Rashaun Mitchell+Silas Riener, Liz Magic Laser, Rebecca Lazier and more.

How can I participate?

Free event. Registration is full with a waitlist, Limited seating

If you’d like to volunteer on 12/14 or 12/15, we are looking for help with note-taking, installation and facilitation. Please contact Sonia Boller at (soniaboller@gmail.com)

Is the event accessible?

We will provide Real Time Captioning and support participants disability and access based on needs. If you have any access needs, please describe on the registration form.

If you want to participate remotely via shared documents, chat channel and video, please contact the organizers via Nabil Hassein at (nabil.hassein@gmail.com)

Suggested readings

Special selection of films from Wapikoni

What is expected of me?

  • Read the suggested articles in advance, provided upon registration.
  • Adhere to the SFPC Code of Conduct, provided upon registration.
  • Actively participate in group discussion during break out sessions.

Will there be live-streaming?

A portion of the presentations will be live-streamed and recorded. Please follow SFPC YouTube channel.

Video, photo and text documentation will be published after the event.

Where is SFPC?

We are located in 155 Bank street, in the courtyard of the Westbeth Artists Community in the West Village, New York City. The event is happening at SFPC and Michelson Studio on the top floor of SFPC. Detailed instruction will be provided upon registration.

Social media

Please use #codeecologies hashtag.

Contact Us

Feel free to contact Taeyoon Choi (taeyoon@sfpc.io) for any questions, interview inquiries, press release and sponsorship opportunities.

Donation

Please support this event by making a donation. Paypal and cash donation will be accepted at the registration.

Special thanks

This event is made possible through the generous support from the Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant, Astra Taylor, friends and volunteers of SFPC community.