Jenny Odell is an Oakland-based writer, visual artist, and involuntary birdwatcher whose work often involves the rewards of close observation. In 2015, she was an artist in residence at Recology SF (the San Francisco dump), where she created the Bureau of Suspended Objects, an obsessively-researched archive of 200 discarded objects. Odell has also been an artist in residence at the Internet Archive, Facebook, and the San Francisco Planning Department. In 2016, she created a mural for the side of a Google data center in rural Oklahoma, using satellite imagery from Google Maps. Odell has written for SFMOMA's Open Space, Topic, and the Creative Independent, and is currently working on a book called How to Do Nothing, forthcoming from Melville House. Odell has taught in the Art & Art History department of Stanford University since 2013.
Designing for the In-Between
In her talk, Jenny Odell will draw on a set of disparate elements – her Filipino-American background, an interest in biological phenomena such as hybridization and symbiosis, and Eastern spiritual conceptions of the self – to highlight injustices and misunderstandings wrought by artificial and often colonial sets of boundaries. Addressing subjects from the evolution of mitochondria to the Philippine archipelago to 1990s net art, Odell lays out several prompts for designers and technologists. In a time of filter bubbles and personal brands, what does anti-essentialist design look like?