This presentation outlines a distinctive set of propositions aimed at intervening in teaching and learning as commonly experienced in creative arts programmes in undergraduate tertiary contexts. Specifically, this paper develops an argument for the importance of metaphors and poetics in computational arts practices.

A review of offerings across the swarming syllabuses of Australian art and design training institutions today suggests that, while there is a systematic address to preparing graduates for the realpolitik of the creative arts field beyond schools of art and design, it stops short of a sustained, critical analysis of the field, let alone critical reflexivity concerning the moral and pedagogic framing of artists themselves.

Appraising some proposed best practices for making computing arts practice sustainable, I suggest how movements of slow computing offer a model for learning to live with diminished expectations of fast processing speed and efficient software packages. This paper, then, fleshes out an understanding of metaphors and poiesis as a social practice rather than a process per se., and in particular, through computational poetics to a kind of activity characterized by technē an aided bringing forth of discovery, revealing how the hands-on understandings of typing strings of code and writing and reading involved to be a constructive, temporal, embodied labour rather than a cognitive function, involving simply the decoding or retrieval of meaning from written language and learning with ecological metaphors of file trees for decision-making and modelling.

This paper neither conforms to the norms that mandate pragmatic solutions to ‘problems’. Instead, the agenda is to advance repair action that attends to excluded bodies and neglected materials, such as the minerals mined from unceded lands that make up the alloys and copper wiring, which is a way to sensitise care about ecologies and multispecies. Exposing technology’s inner workings is to expand the ‘machine’ to describe interrelationships encompassing devices, bodies, agents, forces and networks.

Focusing on acts of maintenance and repair through hands-on computing and experiential learning, to demystify and touch the mechanisms that execute software scripts is to experience and grasp the provenance of digital materiality that can lead us to imagine beyond the known and possible. Confronting the challenges of digital obsolescence in art and design teaching and learning ignites ‘Spirited practices’ (Hallen 2003, 60) of repair for the ancient future of enduring middens embedded along forsaken shorelines of the antipodes.

Presented In

Stream C: Panel Three