Jenny Odell is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in Oakland, California. Her work is an argument for the rewards of close observation, especially as a way of participating in one’s physical environment. Because it exists at the intersection of research and aesthetics, Odell's practice often involves encounters with archives or the creation of new ones, bridging the digital and the physical in the process. For instance, in The Bureau of Suspended Objects, she created a searchable online archive of 200 objects salvaged from the San Francisco dump, with photographs and information on their material, corporate, and manufacturing histories. Odell's work is driven by the ways in which new perspectives lead to important and consequential shifts in perception at the level of the everyday. Accordingly, she seeks to create “demarcations of attention” (e.g. archives and arrangements) that invite the viewer into different temporal and spatial scales of observation.
Odell's work has been exhibited at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Ever Gold Projects, the Marjorie Barrick Museum (Las Vegas), apexart (NYC), The New York Public Library, Les Rencontres D'Arles, La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Lishui Photography Festival (China), and East Wing (Dubai). It has also been featured in TIME Magazine's LightBox, The Atlantic, The Economist, WIRED, and a couple of Gestalten books. Odell has been an artist in residence at Recology SF (the dump), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Palo Alto Art Center, Facebook, the Internet Archive, and the San Francisco Planning Department. She has also written for SFMOMA's Open Space, Topic, and Real Future. Odell teaches internet art and digital / physical design at Stanford University and holds an MFA in Art+Technology from SFAI.
Image: Jenny Odell, Shoot Your Computer (from Neo-Surreal), 2017. Digital Print; 9 x 9 inches. Courtesy the artist.