what a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing
July 1, 2017 6:20 PM   Subscribe

how to do nothing, a talk given at EYEO 2017 by artist Jenny Odell.
posted by panic (16 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
This is really lovely. I'm interested in her Recology work now; it's like a real-time museum exhibit.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:47 PM on July 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

When Samuel Gompers, who led the labor group that organized this particular iteration of the 8-hour movement, was asked, “What does labor want?” he responded, “It wants the earth and the fullness thereof.”
posted by Going To Maine at 6:57 PM on July 1, 2017 [7 favorites]

Great talk! So much Oakland in this.
posted by migurski at 7:32 PM on July 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

So much in this that I have thought, but not found the words for. Got the words now. Fucking great post.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:58 PM on July 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, wow, this was an excellent essay. My neighbor works for the city and he's pretty much the main official maintainer of the Rose Garden, though of course the volunteers do a tremendous amount of upkeep like Odell mentions here. I think he'd really appreciate reading this.
posted by invitapriore at 8:19 PM on July 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

This was absolutely beautiful and something that I will return to again and again. Thank you.
posted by delight at 9:36 PM on July 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Fantastic. There's a lot in here, but one part that really resonated was her description of needing to be able to point to something and say This is real. I've been feeling that lately, that with all the abstractions, and techno-work, and media consumption, and high-level thinking, my day has very few points that intersect with reality: with breath, with earth, with direct sensation, with alive-ness.

My primary goal over the next 5 years is structuring my life so that I am connected to what is real.

Great essay. I need to head over to that Rose garden later in July.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 10:36 PM on July 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Peripherally: Edward R. Murrow's 1959 interview with Robert Paul Smith, author of How To Do Nothing All Alone By Yourself.
posted by fairmettle at 1:58 AM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

One of those pieces that you want to share but just can't decide what to pullquote because it's all too good!
posted by The Toad at 3:39 AM on July 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Fairmettle-THANK YOU for that link to the Robert Paul Smith interview. I read that book 30 years ago and have always wondered about the writer. What a delightful little clip of TV history.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:38 AM on July 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
posted by cenoxo at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

That was really quite worthwhile. A lot of words explaining the importance of essentially, mindfulness, but beautifully written by someone who struggles with many of the same things that lure one away from ones own corporeal existence as me.

"I look down at my phone and wonder if it isn’t its own kind of sensory deprivation chamber."

Abundantly clear to anyone with a child who has handed them an iPad.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:50 PM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

"You have to be careful doing nothing, because you might accidentally do something, and then you'd have to drop everything. "
posted by 4ster at 5:59 PM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

A few years ago I held a reunion for a group of old school chums in my backyard. One friend, Drew, has prospered in the financial field and was eager to tell of his many expensive acquisitions.

As the party wore on, and his account of the $300K kitchen he'd just built for his wife and the 40-foot sailboat they'd purchased had made the rounds, I caught Drew standing apart from the group, staring at my (very busy) hummingbird feeder. He was spellbound and amazed.

When I told him that feeders were cheap, and that he could easily put one in his own yard, it became clear that his own property functions more as a moat to separate him from his neighbors, and is not actually used. I pointed out that my yard is the most important room of my house--it is where I go to DO NOTHING, to open my ears and eyes and mind to the sky and birds and sunlight and wind through leaves. Drew was speechless.

It was clear from his reaction that Drew, for all his rich living, had never indulged in being still and quiet and receptive. As he departed he actually expressed envy for my tiny, private, priceless garden.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:00 AM on July 3, 2017 [13 favorites]

I have to set up my new apartment, but I excel at doing nothing so the box for my new pillows is probably going to be my nightstand for another few nights.
posted by numaner at 4:09 PM on July 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

This was great. It articulates many things that I have wrestled with over the years.
posted by bardophile at 4:49 AM on July 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

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