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How to do nothing : resisting the attention economy /

by Odell, Jenny (Multimedia artist) [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Brooklyn, NY : Melville House, [2019]Description: xxiii, 232 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9781612197494; 1612197493.Subject(s): Information technology -- Social aspects | Reflection (Philosophy) | Attention -- Philosophy | Work -- Philosophy | Arts -- Philosophy | TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Social Aspects | NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection | ART / Digital
Contents:
The case for nothing -- The impossibility of retreat -- Anatomy of a refusal -- Exercises in attention -- Ecology of strangers -- Restoring the grounds for thought -- Conclusion : Manifest dismantling.
Summary: "A galvanizing critique of the forces vying for our attention--and our personal information--that redefines what we think of as productivity, reconnects us with the environment, and reveals all that we've been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world. 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, who 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 our role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. Far from a simple anti-technology screed or back-to-nature meditation, How to Do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of the narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent."--Jacket.
List(s) this item appears in: August Self Care (Adults)
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Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult NonFiction 303.4833 ODE Available 39270004893214

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

After the American presidental election of 2016, Jenny Odell felt so overstimunated and disoriented by information, misinformation, and the expressions of others, that reality itself seemed to slip away. How To Do Nothing is her action plan for resistance. Drawing on the ethos of tech culture, a background in the arts, and personal storytelling, Jenny Odell makes a powerful argument for refusal: refusal to believe that our lives are instruments to be optimised. She argues that nothing can be quite so radical as doing... nothing.

The case for nothing -- The impossibility of retreat -- Anatomy of a refusal -- Exercises in attention -- Ecology of strangers -- Restoring the grounds for thought -- Conclusion : Manifest dismantling.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 207-218) and index.

"A galvanizing critique of the forces vying for our attention--and our personal information--that redefines what we think of as productivity, reconnects us with the environment, and reveals all that we've been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world. 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, who 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 our role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. Far from a simple anti-technology screed or back-to-nature meditation, How to Do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of the narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent."--Jacket.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction: Surviving Usefulness (p. ix)
  • Chapter 1 The Case for Nothing (p. 3)
  • Chapter 2 The Impossibility of Retreat (p. 30)
  • Chapter 3 Anatomy of a Refusal (p. 63)
  • Chapter 4 Exercises in Attention (p. 95)
  • Chapter 5 Ecology of Strangers (p. 127)
  • Chapter 6 Restoring the Grounds for Thought (p. 155)
  • Conclusion: Manifest Dismantling (p. 186)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 205)
  • Notes (p. 207)
  • Index (p. 219)

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy Chapter 2 The Impossibility of Retreat A lot of people withdraw from society, as an experiment...So I thought I would withdraw and see how enlightening it would be. But I found out that it's not enlightening. I think that what you're supposed to do is stay in the midst of life. -AGNES MARTIN If doing nothing requires space and time away from the unforgiving landscape of productivity, we might be tempted to conclude that the answer is to turn our backs to the world, temporarily or for good. But this response would be shortsighted. All too often, things like digital detox retreats are marketed as a kind of "life hack" for increasing productivity upon our return to work. And the impulse to say goodbye to it all, permanently, doesn't just neglect our responsibility to the world that we live in; it is largely unfeasible, and for good reason. Last summer, I accidentally staged my own digital detox retreat. I was on a solitary trip to the Sierra Nevada to work on a project about the Mokelumne River, and the cabin I had booked had no cell reception and no Wi-Fi. Because I hadn't expected this to be the case, I was also unprepared: I hadn't told people I would be offline for the next few days, hadn't answered important emails, hadn't downloaded music. Alone in the cabin, it took me about twenty minutes to stop freaking out about how abruptly disconnected I felt. But after that brief spell of panic, I was surprised to find how quickly I stopped caring. Not only that, I was fascinated with how inert my phone appeared as an object; it was no longer a portal to a thousand other places, a machine charged with dread and potentiality, or even a communication device. It was just a black metal rectangle, lying there as silently and matter-of-factly as a sweater or a book. Its only use was as a flashlight and a timer. With newfound peace of mind, I worked on my project unperturbed by the information and interruptions that would have otherwise lit up that tiny screen every few minutes. To be sure, it gave me a valuable new perspective on how I use technology. But as easy as it was to romanticize giving everything up and living like a hermit in this isolated cabin, I knew I eventually needed to return home, where the world waited and the real work remained to be done. Excerpted from How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

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