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artwork of animated interconnected maze-like paths


Announcing the ‘Mathematics as a Religious Experience’ public talk

  • Saturday January 18th 2020, 12-3pm (doors open at 11:30am)
  • School for Poetic Computation (SFPC), 55 Bank St, New York City
  • Tuition will be sliding scale between $10 - $30 based on need. If you are a student or require a discount, please email!
  • Get your tickets here.


Throughout history ancient to modern, countless cultures have been known to practice mathematics — very broadly defined or understood as the study of abstract structure — and applied its numerous branches to fields as eclectic as theology, architecture, medicine, astronomy, and far more. Yet much mathematics education treats its subjects as though they fell from the sky rather than being historically developed by diverse peoples in response to their specific needs and in accordance with their particular cultures; as though rote memorization and computation rather than creativity, intuition or beauty was at the core of mathematical practice; and as though Europe were the only region to produce any notable tradition of quantitative methods, algorithmic thinking or proof-based inquiry.

In this one-day event, several artists will show work on related themes, with the main program consisting of a sermon bringing together the above topics and more: model and metaphor; music and visual art; physics and divination; the infinitely large, the infinitely small, and what it means to live our values in the world. The sermon will be followed by a meal (at around 2 PM) and additional chances to view artwork and connect with fellow attendees. Please join us from noon to 3 PM (doors open at 11:30 AM) on Saturday January 18th and be prepared to expand your conception of the significance of mathematics to many areas of your life.

Organizers, Speakers and Artists

Sermon by Nabil Hassein, event creator

  • Nabil Hassein is a technologist, organizer, educator, and SFPC alum currently studying for a PhD in Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. Nabil previously worked professionally as a teacher of mathematics and programming in both public schools and private settings, as well as a software developer in the so-called “tech industry”, and participates in grassroots police and prison abolitionist organizing in NYC. Nabil studied mathematics at NYU and was blessed to catch a glimpse of its profound structure and beauty despite many negative anti-educational experiences in math classrooms, only to reproduce some of those same harms in teaching numerous students, engendering a need for atonement.

Special thanks to session advisor Lauren Gardner and co-organizer Zainab Aliyu for indispensable help in planning this event!

  • Lauren Gardner is a New York City–based product manager, community builder and artist. She is the co-owner of the art collective and DIY gallery Babycastles which has reinvented the arcade as a social space for independent video game culture. Lauren is also a partner at the School For Poetic Computation.

  • Zainab Aliyu (Zai) is a New York City based cultural worker who uses counter-narratives and interventions to catalyze resilience, resistance and radical hope within her communities. She interrogates the cybernetic and temporal entanglement embedded within societal dynamics through installations, virtual environments, archives, poetry, printed matter and community-participatory (de)programming.


Full-price tickets are $30, and there is also a donation based option available. See the ‘Tickets’ link on the eventbrite registration page for more information. No one turned away for lack of funds.


The event will be livestreamed, and a transcript will later be added to the recording. Links forthcoming!


SFPC is located approximately half a mile from the ADA accessible 14th St-8 Ave stop on the A, C, E, and L trains. The plaza entrance leading to SFPC does not have stairs, however the space is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.

All bathrooms are gender neutral. No ID required to enter.

CART will be professionally provided, and Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing folks are invited to indicate their need for priority access to seating to view the captions, which may not visible to all attendees due to the layout of the space.

Please contact Nabil if you have any other accessibility questions or requests!

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.


Feel free to reach out to Nabil directly about the event, or SFPC for general questions about the school:

*Promo visual by Matt Jacobson