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Humanities Forum: Saving Time with Jenny Odell


March 4, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Location: The Skylight Room at The Commons

A woman with long dark hair and glasses looks at the camera

Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond Productivity Culture
Jenny Odell, writer and artist
In conversation with Jason Loviglio, Associate Professor and Acting Chair, Media and Communication Studies
Part of the Spring 2024 Humanities Forum

With her first book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Jenny Odell explored the importance of disconnecting from the “attention economy” to spend time in quiet contemplation. But what if you don’t have time to spend? In answering this seemingly simple question, Odell found that the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. This is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. In conversation with UMBC’s Jason Loviglio, Odell will discuss her recent book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond Productivity Culture, which shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.

Jenny Odell is a writer and artist based in Oakland, California. Her work generally involves acts of close observation, whether it’s birdwatching, collecting screen shots, researching trash, or trying to parse bizarre forms of e-commerce. She is compelled by new frameworks that allow us to perceive something new about everyday reality. Her first book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, was published in 2019, and her second book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond Productivity Culture, was published in 2023.

Odell’s visual work has been exhibited at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, the New York Public Library, the Marjorie Barrick Museum (Las Vegas), Les Rencontres D’Arles, Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Fotomuseum Winterthur, La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), the Lishui Photography Festival (China), and apexart (NY). She has been an artist in residence at Recology SF (the dump), the San Francisco Planning Department, the Internet Archive, and the Montalvo Arts Center. From 2013 to 2021, Odell taught digital art at Stanford University.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Media and Communication Studies, the Center for Social Science Scholarship, and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health.

Books will be available for purchase on site courtesy of Charm City Books.

Photo by Ryan Meyer.


March 4
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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