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Spring 2018: Week 1

It’s rare that within days of meeting each other and after spending 14 hours in the same room, a group of people decide what they want to do next is spend even more time with each other. But that’s what happened at SFPC during the Onboarding Week. Two days in, the class was already making plans to cook together and meet each other at Jazz clubs and gardens when we weren’t in class. I imagine that like for the previous classes, at the end of the program SFPC will feel more like a home than a school.

Day 1: Introductions, hopes for SFPC, and Human Fax machine activity with Taeyoon.

Day 1 opened with introductory lectures by Taeyoon and Lauren. Everyone created a name badge for another person with a sketch of their face. Then, students were given sheets of paper and asked to list all the questions they had about their time at SFPC, and what they wanted to get out of it. After they finished writing, they broke into small groups to discuss and categorize the questions.

Name cards with sketches
  • What happens after the program? How to make a living as an artist?
  • How much time to spend learning vs making? Also how to choose what to focus on when they are learning so much.
  • Learning to learn and to teach.
  • How to develop a creative practice.
  • Building empathy, learning to be honest with ourselves and to share our work.
  • Growing in a reflective way.
  • Creating interactive experiences, using data creatively and making things with their hands.
Students discuss their goals for SFPC

Day 2: Intro to Critical Theory and Artist Talk with Amit Pitaru

The students began the day with Morehshin Allahyari who is teaching a critical theory class titled, “The Radical Outside.” She started by giving an artists talk on ‘Addivitism, Digital Colonialism and Monstrosity.’ She gave a brief history of herself and talked about her self-identification as an art activist, saying, when you grow up in a place like Iran, it is a privilege to make work that’s not political. She explored questions she’d been thinking about like “Can there be radicalism without violence?” and “How can you use technology in a more provocative way?” while demoing about her work with the 3D Addivist cookbook.

Amit demoing Teachable Machine
  • Gain a contextual understanding of yourself. Identify what’s interesting to you. Look at what other people are working on and see what excites you.
  • Find the best tool for learning to code regardless of what you want to create. (He recommended Processing if you’re just getting started) There are so many tools out there now but it’s best to restrict yourself and choose one.
  • While in the past the learning curve for coding looked much like that for a guitar, (hard at first and then easy much later), coding now is more like the learning curve for a piano. When you start it’s a plateau and at some point you hit a wall but you’ll be ok as long as you know the wall exists and keep pushing.
  • Hardware is hard.
  • For hardware and software, try and get to a place where 80% is familiar and 20% is not. To do that, use what other people make and write, and use tools (like Processing, Arduino) that provide abstractions for the more difficult or thorny concepts.
  • He learnt how to create from writing the same code over and over again.
  • There is no prerequisite to helping. Teach when you can.
  • It’s ok not to aim for 100% performance all the time. “If things work 80% of the time I’m happy.”
  • Trust your learning process.
Scavenger hunt

Day 3: Binary Numbers and Meet the teachers of the Craft track!

Teaching binary numbers
Game by one of the students
Robby Kraft demoing his Origami creative coding library




School for poetic computation

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School for Poetic Computation—since Fall 2013.

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