Conditioned Existence
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...because human existence is conditioned existence, it would be impossible without things, and things would be a heap of unrelated articles, a non-world, if they were not the conditioners of human existence. -Hannah Arendt
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to be as it is, infinite. -William Blake
My work attempts to momentarily render humanity legible to itself by mining the surplus, latent value of secondhand imagery, mostly from Google Maps, but also from Youtube, Craigslist, and other sites. The value of this imagery has to do with the way the it happens to reflect us, obliquely and in a way more accurately than otherwise possible, in an environment so familiar it has become nearly invisible to us. The result is something like the most candid photo possible: we, and our world of things, are captured in an arbitrary moment by a mechanized camera on a satellite or on top of a car, or by a tourist who meant the photo to be of something else.
Jenny Odell is a Bay Area native/captive with an MFA in Design from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley. Her work has been featured at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Google Headquarters, and Les Rencontres D'Arles in France. It's also turned up in TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, Wired, the NPR Picture Show, Pop-up Magazine, Rhizome, Guernica, and ESPN Magazine. Abroad, her work has been featured in Frieze, Die Zeit, European Photography, NEON Magazine, Le Soir, Elephant Magazine, and most bizarrely, a Belgian TV guide that came in the mail with an assortment of gorilla stickers. As a recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission individual artist grant, she is working on a new large-scale body of work to be exhibited in San Francisco in November 2014. She is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco.
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