Odell Debuts Newest Work
Contributed by Megan Richard
Both an artist and a writer, Jenny Odell releases her newest work, How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, in 2019.
Nothing is harder to do these days than nothing. But in a world where our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity . . . doing nothing may be our most important form of resistance. So argues artist and critic Jenny Odell in this field guide to doing nothing (at least as capitalism defines it). Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. Once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind’s role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent.
"A complex, smart and ambitious book that at first reads like a self-help manual, then blossoms into a wide-ranging political manifesto."—Jonah Engel Bromwich, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Jenny Odell is an Oakland-based artist, writer, and educator. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney's, and Sierra Magazine. Her visual work has been exhibited internationally, including as a mural on the side of a Google data center in rural Oklahoma. Odell has been an artist in residence at the Internet Archive, the San Francisco Planning Department, and Recology SF (otherwise known as the dump). She is a lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University.