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Featured on Aug 24, 2011

Joanne McNeil

"The Internet is the closest we've come to building a time machine. History is just another thing to scramble and remix."


Online since the mid-90s, obsessing over ways in which the internet broadens and distorts our identities ever since. As editor of Rhizome, I have one foot in the art world and the other in the tech community. But the internet breaks down such divisions, most us wear many hats. What the artists we feature on Rhizome have in common is they remind us the point of technology is to advance human purposes.

  • Title: Senior Editor,
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Contact: @jomc

Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Any interesting trends happening in internet art at the moment?

Rhizome artists tend to have a wide variety of skills. A photographer generally knows the same things as another photographer, but art related to technology could be made by someone who programs, has a background in web design, or maybe just spends a lot of time on 4chan. For that reason a major trend is collaborative practice as different artists can bring different skills to the table.

There is a lot of interesting art made with 3D modeling at the moment. Conceptually, it may be a response to the dematerialization of things like books and music. Another part of it is many of these artists grew up playing video games and feel a particular nostalgia for exploring virtual worlds.

You have been studying and writing about Internet culture for some time now. What is the most fascinating thing you have discovered?

I'm always fascinated with time shifts in online conversations. Normally we are thinking in terms of what is a reasonable delay before responding to this email? But most people don't pay attention to the dates on message board posts, so you'll find threads on places like IMDB that start and get picked up again three or four years later by someone else.

Think about that. In four years, you may have had two serious relationships, three cross-country moves, and five different jobs, but in the meantime some random person on the internet might find your post and contest your claim as to what are the top five scariest scenes in giallo films.

In your blog, you wrote you’re interested in travel to Asian countries. Where have you been? Where are you looking to go? Any interesting stories?

I'd love nothing more than to go to Japan. Taipei is one of my favorite cities in the world and it has a really exciting new media art scene. Last summer, I travelled all around Southeast Asia — mostly through Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. I miss the noodles and the frangipani. Ubud in Bali was a highlight. I stayed in a guesthouse located behind a place where gamelans are built and woke up to the most incredible sounds.