My name is Nabil Hassein and I am a technologist, educator, organizer, and novice media scholar. I am currently a PhD student in NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication; previously worked professionally for some years as a programmer and a teacher; have participated in (unpaid) grassroots abolitionist campaigns against prisons and police, including as a member of No New Jails NYC, Millions March NYC, and Survived and Punished NY; and have done some other things too, like co-organizing the Code Ecologies open forum on the environmental impact of computation at the School for Poetic Computation, and being an organizer from 2016 to 2018 of !!Con, a popular conference about the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing.
I was born and raised in Northern Virginia but have lived in New York City since 2008 except for one year. I’ve been staying in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for some while now, and have no intention of moving.
Notable among the places where I’ve learned many interesting things are the School for Poetic Computation, an independent artist-run hybrid of school, residency and research group, where I was a full-time student for the Spring 2018 term, and had previously studied at for various brief durations, before going on to work there; the Recurse Center (formerly known as Hacker School), a space similar to a writers’ retreat for programmers which I’ve attended twice, in the summer of 2013 and from late March through mid-August 2016; and New York University, which I graduated in 2012 with a degree in mathematics and computer science, before returning in 2019 to study for my PhD.
My relationship with the field of computing has gotten more antagonistic the more I’ve studied its negative social impacts on the communities I care about, yet I still retain my hope that another technology is possible. I believe it’s up to us technologists to build it, or else we must be prepared to discard the entire field of computing, given its historical origins in and ongoing entanglement with profound human oppression and ecological destruction.