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Joanne McNeil
Current location
New York, NY
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
201617, Impact Resident; 201415, Project Resident
Member of
OurNet (With Dan Phiffer & Joanne McNeil)

Joanne McNeil is an American writer, editor, and art critic known for her personal essays on technology. McNeil has authored WRONG WAY (2023) and LURKING (2020).

McNeil was the inaugural winner of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation’s Arts Writing Award for an emerging writer. She has been a resident at Eyebeam, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, recipient of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation.

McNeil founded and edited the now-defunct blog, The Tomorrow Museum, before becoming the editor of Rhizome at the New Museum, in 2011. She held the position through 2012, when She edited The Best of Rhizome 2012, published through LINK Editions/LINK Center for the Arts. She has contributed to Frieze, Los Angeles Times, Wired, and the Boston Globe. She currently maintains a column called Speculations for Filmmaker Magazine, a series of essays on science fiction films and books and art, and other culture.

Eyebeam Residency (2014 – 2015)


From 2014 to 2015, Joanne McNeil organized a discussion series of women-led panels exploring the power and politics of social technology.

Participants included Sarah Jaffe, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Sabrina Majeed, Erin Kissane, Sydette Harry, Melissa Grant, Sava Sahelia Singh, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Dr. Karen Gregory, and Kate Crawford.

New Topics in Social Computing: Online Abuser Dynamics (November 20th, 2014)

New Topics in Social Computing: Consent and the Network (January 7th, 2015)

This discussion considered what it means to consent to share data online and to what extent digital literacy ascribes responsibility. In an essay for Model View Culture, Betsy Haibel considers online permissions through the lens of what anti-rape activists call  “enthusiastic consent.” The hidden “opt-out” boxes, deceptive links, and hard-to-find unsubscribe buttons assert developers know better than users “what their boundaries are.” Often a user is given an implicit deal, for example, the tradeoff of surrendering personal data in exchange for free services. Topics discussed under the misleading rubric “revenge porn,” spanning privacy, first amendment rights, extortion law, sex, and surveillance, likewise begin with the absence of consent. Consequently, users may be blamed for a breach of their personal privacy. The women targeted in the celebrity photo hack scandal last August were criticized for taking nude photos in the first place, although Apple failed to secure iCloud from “brute force” programs and online publishers posted these photos without their consent. This discussion considered user consent as a guiding principle of internet freedom.

Panelists: Sarah JeongKaren LevyAlice Marwick

New Topics in Social Computing: Resistance Under Surveillance (May 13, 2015)

New Topics in Social Computing: Free Expression and Online Anonymity

In this discussion, panelists considered how anonymity had shaped our experiences with the internet. It was once a defining characteristic of life online. Until the rise of social media, internet users rarely identified themselves with pictures or real names. The early years of the internet were a singular opportunity to exchange ideas freely without our personal history influencing other people’s expectations of our skills or intellect. The freedom of expression that online anonymity offers can create a safe space for young people to explore their sexuality or complicate other parts of their identity. But more recently, it has enabled hostile comments on Twitter and other social networks. Spaces like Reddit that sometimes resemble Usenet and chat rooms from years ago also host hateful and unseemly comments . Meanwhile the app Whisper, which promotes itself as an anonymous forum, has come under scrutiny for egregious privacy violations. Some technology commentators are calling for an end to anonymity to curb online bullying. What do we lose as our ability to be truly anonymous online recedes?

Panelists: Seda GursesKatherine Cross, Sandra Ordonez

New Topics in Social Computing: Emotional labor and affective computing

New Topics in Social Computing: Data and Education (July 1st, 2015)

In this discussion, panelists considered how younger generations are growing up with data collection normalized and with increasingly limited opportunities to opt-out. Issues of surveillance, privacy, and consent have particular implications in the context of school systems. As education and technology writer Audrey Watters explains, “many journalists, politicians, entrepreneurs, government officials, researchers, and others … argue that through mining and modeling, we can enhance student learning and predict student success.” Administrators, even working with the best intentions, might exaggerate systemic biases or create other unintended consequences through use of new technologies. The panelists considered within their discussion the new structural obstacles involving metrics like learning analytics, the labor politics of data, and issues of data privacy and ownership.

Panelists: Sava Saheli Singh, Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Dr. Karen Gregory

You can read more about the panels, written by Joanne McNeil on medium.

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