SFPC: Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation

July 8 – August 12, 2023

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

Ways to Experience the Project

Events are subject to change. With the exception of drop-in hours, we ask the public to reserve a time online for one or more of the following public engagements. Since slots are limited, we ask that visitors commit to attending and cancel in advance if their plans change. All events are free. 

Open Computer Lab Hours

Thursdays and Fridays from July 13 to August 11, 12-6 pm

Join the Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation on Thursdays and Fridays from 12-6pm for weekly Open Computer Lab hours from July 13 to August 11. Bring your own computer or feel free to use any available desktop or laptop—first come, first serve! Lab technicians will be available on site to help troubleshoot computer related issues. Lab hours aren’t only for screen time: Browse the physical library filled with books, zines, and printed ephemera contributed by community members, or bring your own screen free entertainment (board games, puzzles, word searches, etc.) to lounge around in the space with. Come as you are and hang out!


Workshops and Events

Experiments in Networked Performance Showcase

July 8, 2023, Cohort 1: 1 -2:30 pm Cohort 2: 8-9:30 pm

Join the participants of SFPC’s Experiments in Networked Performance for a day and night of experimental digital performances designed for a live online audience, whether it be chat rooms, interactive video livestreams, tiny LARPs or collaborative artmaking. The event will both take place in person at Recess and be streamed to https://twitch.tv/sfpc_nyc and feature live web interaction alongside the stream!  

Session Organizers and Teachers:

Todd Anderson

Tiri Kananuruk

With support from:

Sebastien Morales

Yuguang Zhang


Free with RSVP


Seeding your own cloud – hands on self-and-community-hosting with Jonathan Dahan

Saturday, July 22, 2023, 11am-2pm

Where does your browser go when visiting a website? What does it talk to? Who owns these computers, and are their interests aligned with yours? In this hands-on workshop, participants will set up computers with the ability to host personal home pages, and their own private version of cloud services. We will address challenges and benefits of short, medium, and long-term hosting infrastructure and how to get started.

Jonathan Dahan hacks physical places, virtual spaces, and the networks between people who traverse them both. He likes to both impose and break artificial limitations, as a conduit for learning through play.

In person · Free & Open to all  · RSVP here


The Basis of Electronic Music thru Sequencing with Dweller Electronics <> JWords

Saturday, July 29, 2023, 2-5 pm

Sequencing is one of the main ways electronic music is composed. Most electronic musical equipment has the ability to sync together through midi to create your own band. Synth, drums, leads, and textures create an electronic song. In this class, students will be learning how to sequence through a DAW (digital audio workstation) and various musical equipment (drum machines and synths). We will explore the possibilities of creativity and the freedom sequencing gives us.

Dweller Electronics (started in 2019) is an electronic music festival platforming black electronic artists and this is the derivative blog, started in 2020, centering black perspectives. Dweller is a group dedicated towards providing black counterpoint within an otherwise eurologically dominant music industry. Learn more at: https://dwellerforever.blog

JWords is a producer, composer breaking boundaries in black electronic and hip-hop music successfully fusion the two genres together to create a whole new world for herself. An arsenal of synthesizers and drum machines have become her signature in creating dynamic live performances. Having produced albums like ‘ve·loc·i·ty’ by H31R which is a duo between maassai and JWords. She’s also produced for rapper Nappy Nina and their album is called ‘Double Down’.

In person · Free & Open to all  · RSVP here


Hand Coding Round Robin with Emma Rae Bruml Norton

August 5, 2023, 11am-2 pm

Participants of this workshop will learn how to “hand code” for the web through the creation of collective web pages. The session will start with a brief lecture on the significance of coding slowly and by hand. participants will learn how to do this kind of coding by example and with care. Equal attention will be given to HTML elements, CSS styles, and the content on the page. Through adding and styling the content of each other’s web pages students will learn the basic building blocks of making a website as well as what it feels like to code with and for each other.

Emma Rae Bruml Norton is a PhD student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication department. She studies histories of computing through philosophy of technology. She has taught interdisciplinary courses in the Code as a Liberal Art program at The New School, the Computer Science department at NYU, The School for Poetic Computation and the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers.

In person · Free & Open to all  · RSVP here


A Conversation with Kit Galloway

August 10, 7:30-8pm

Join us for an artist talk by Kit Galloway, followed by a conversation between the artist and SFPC Co-Director Celine Wong Katzman. Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, whose original Electronic Cafe ‘84 project inspired ECPC, are significant historical figures in networked performance. The Electronic Café, a project commissioned by the LA Museum of Contemporary Art and Olympic Arts Festival, joined cafés and restaurants that connected culturally diverse communities in Los Angeles. People at the sites exchanged drawings, photos, poems, video and fax messages via a dedicated network nearly ten years before the Web became a mass medium. The artists’ commitment to using technologies to enhance community interaction led them to establish the Electronic Café as an ongoing cultural incubator in Santa Monica, California, where it became internationally known as an influential hub for dialogue, exhibition, and performance dedicated to networked art. 

In person & online · Free & Open to all  · RSVP here

Community Day 

August 12, 2023, 12-6pm

Community Day is the celebration of Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation: an internet cafe and classroom where community members and attendees will have participated in a series of workshops and community events exploring creative, inclusive, and liberatory uses of network technology within an abolitionist framework.

Participate in a workshop and listening session with Dweller Electronics, parallel play in the library & reading room, or step outside for the sidewalk activation involving hula hoops and computer programming. Set up your own computer or use any available desktop or laptop during the Open Computer Lab, or bring your own screen free entertainment (board games, puzzles, word searches, etc.) to lounge around in the space alongside beverages and snacks.

  • 12:00pm: Doors open
  • 12:30-2:30pm: Workshop with Dweller Electronics in Computer Lab
  • 12:30-2:30pm: Parallel Play
    • Library & Reading Room in Front Gallery
    • Hoops and For Loops on the Sidewalk
  • 2:30-4:00pm: Open Computer Lab
  • 3:00pm: Celebratory Toast
  • 4:00-5:00pm – DJ Set with Dweller Electronics

About Dweller Electronics

Dweller Electronics (started in 2019) is an electronic music festival platforming black electronic artists and this is the derivative blog, started in 2020, centering black perspectives. Dweller is a group dedicated towards providing black counterpoint within an otherwise eurologically dominant music industry. Learn more at: https://dwellerforever.blog

About Hoops and For Loops

Hoops and For Loops connects flow and computational arts in the spirit of pair programming and outdoor hoop jams of the 90s. For loops are a concept in computer science for repeating code within a program flow. No programming experience necessary. Play or watch from the sidewalk.

Free & Open to All, Please RSVP here


Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation

Drop-in Hours:

Thursday – Saturday 12-6 pm
July 13 – August 11

Artist-Staffed Open Computer Lab Hours:

Thursdays and Fridays, 12-6 pm
from July 13 – August 11

The Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation (ECPC, pronounced easy-peasy) is an internet cafe being developed in real time by the School for Poetic Computation (SFPC) for Recess’s Session program. Community members and visitors are invited to participate in a series of workshops and events exploring creative, inclusive, and liberatory uses of networked technology within an abolitionist framework.

Decades ago, internet cafes were practical hubs for computer usage, and for utopian visioning about the future of networked society. Those utopian visions are almost irreconcilable with the experience of virtual space today, as every area of the internet has been enclosed by big tech monopolies, commodified by hyper-capitalist marketplaces, and disciplined by surveillance regimes. These systems were designed to be oppressive, and/but they can be built in more generous ways that prioritize a multitude of community needs and values over one singular idea of “utopia.” The internet cafe, as both a virtual and physical connection point, offers many possibilities when asking how to collectively learn and practice a more creative, empowered, and just relationship to technology.

Drawing inspiration from the local hubs of the early 2000s where people could access free internet, relax, play games, chat with friends, and print documents, this intimate space alludes to the “golden era” of the internet, where it was possible to find community online or at a local cafe. ECPC is inspired by the “multi-media telecollaboration network” first initiated by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s Electronic Cafe ‘84, a project that transformed informal community venues into a networked cultural organization. By exploring this form, ECPC is a center to investigate and transcend the tension between exclusive art and academic spaces and people-first, community spaces, and explore the possibilities in operating a hybrid in-person and online classroom.

ECPC is a project of SFPC, an independent, experimental school that offers accessible continuing education for learners of all kinds to explore and mobilize art, code, hardware, and critical theory in service of a more just community and world. SFPC classrooms are work-study spaces where participants ruminate on what we mean by school and the importance of art and technology education. By transforming the Session space at Recess into an internet cafe, SFPC welcomes new community members to ask questions essential to its mission: What can a school be? What is a classroom? What is a computer? What can I do with computers? What is poetic about computation? Who was here before me? SFPC programs offer hands-on opportunities to learn to use tech for curiosity, community building, joy, and liberation—through making music, setting up our own servers, and making websites.

At SFPC, teachers and students are always searching for ways to hold and share critical, ancestral, technical, and creative knowledge and practice. This drop-in, networked space is a place for subversion of traditional schooling systems and the ways said systems stratify who is invited to participate, and what practices are considered to be art and knowledge. SFPC hopes this hub will give the expanding community a place to experiment with what technology is, and what study can be.

Electronic Cafe for Poetic Computation is part of Recess’s program, Session, which invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

 About the Artists

The School for Poetic Computation (SFPC) is an experimental school in New York founded in 2013. Our school supports interdisciplinary study in art, code, hardware and critical theory. It is a place for unlearning and learning.

Our programs challenge the capitalistic, heteronormative and patriarchal canon of social and computer sciences. Participants are treated as collaborators and we formally encourage the power they have to determine their experience and education. The special culture of our institution is one grounded on communal care and solidarity across social differences.

Our school is a platform for people who are Black, Indigenous, of color, trans, gender non-conforming, queer, disabled, survivors, living with and/or from low-income backgrounds, and oppressed to feel empowered that their ideas are important, necessary and central.

Recess is supported, in part, by Alloy Development, LLC, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Art for Justice Fund, Art Matters Foundation, The Andy Warhol, Foundation for the Visual Arts, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Bloomberg LP Philanthropy, Brendan Dugan, Brooklyn Community Foundation, The Cy Twombly Foundation. The David Teiger Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Destina Foundation, DFW Fund, ELMA Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Frank E. Clark Charitable Trust, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Jane Hait, Jewish Communal Fund, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Foundation, The Luce Foundation, Kickstarter, MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewitt, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Community Trust, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Odyssey Fund, The Pinkerton Foundation, Progressive Philanthropy Group, The Prospect Hill Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Salomon Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Shapiro-Silverberg Foundation, The Silverweed Foundation, Sozosie Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Tikkum Olam Foundation, VIA Fund, Visionary Freedom Fund, Wescustogo Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation