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Announcing the ‘Mathematics as a Religious Experience’ Workshop’

Note that this event is past – the 2020 version is here.

  • Saturday Feb. 23rd 2019, 11am-4pm
  • School for Poetic Computation (SFPC), 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 us at!
  • 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 workshop, the organizers will present on and lead discussion of:

  • some of the history of the cultural and geographical diversity of mathematics;
  • the philosophical implications of well-known facts such as that certain infinities are larger than others;
  • reflections on the religious experiences documented by working mathematicians and others in related fields of science;
  • evaluation of the use of mathematics by working artists to guide their practice;
  • and the comfort that can be drawn from mathematical history in today’s world.

We will also invite participants to share about their own experiences with mathematics and its relationship to their own spiritual or religious practices and experiences, whether that comes in the current or past context of their schools, jobs, places of worship, or otherwise. Activities include lecture, open discussion, problem-solving, and movement-based activities. Please join us for this intimate day, 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturday February 23rd, prepared to expand your conception of what mathematics could be and its relevance to your life.


  • Nitcha Tothong (Fame) is a Bangkok-born, New York-based multidisciplinary designer, and artist whose work ranges from material sculpture, frame-by-frame animation to custom electronics. Her work focuses on cross-medium pollination, and the juxtaposition between digital and analog that inform each other, practices in visual language as well as physical media both in craft material and electronic computation. She is a math class hater who fell in love with what math can do in the creative field.

  • Nabil Hassein is a technologist, educator and organizer who has 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”. 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.

  • Matt Jacobson is a statistician, recreational mathematician, and educator based in New York City. He hopes to make things that mesmerize and seduce his audience in unexpected ways and embrace that engagement to inspire others.

  • Kengchakaj Kengkarnka is a Fulbright scholar and award-winning, Bangkok-born, New York-based composer, pianist, creative musician, whose work embeds African-American derived music infused with aesthetic of Thai music.

  • Robby Kraft is an origami artist, creative engineer, instructor, and toolmaker. He’s the creator of Rabbit Ear, the origami software design tool, is proficient in origami design and folding, and teaches at The New School and SFPC.

Special thanks to session advisor Lauren Gardner for essential help in getting this event going!

  • Lauren 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.


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 us if you have questions about the school: