What is my hangup with work? (An exercise)


I’ll also be attending this online today! (can report back on it):
This was forwarded to me from a friend, and it JUST so happened that I’ve read her long treatise on nothing which was much earlier than when I wrote about nothing. But I actually made a TLDR version of her writing!

Jenny Odell: “Can time be something other than money?”

Saturday, September 19, 2020; 5pm PST
40 minute talk followed by 30 minutes of public conversation broadcast live at thelab.org

Odell will be thinking through the question, “can time be something other than money?” Embedded in this question is the history of time under industrialization, changing notions of leisure, and what we might learn from other temporalities, including ecological and geological time.
Jenny Odell is Oakland-based artist, writer, and lecturer in the Art Practice department at Stanford. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Paris Review, and McSweeney’s. Odell has been an artist in residence at Recology SF, the Internet Archive, and the San Francisco Planning Department. She is the author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.

The Forum is a bi-weekly experiment in creating discourse within the context of isolation. Art creates a space for reconsidering our knowledge across various social and professional fields. It asks us: Why do we perceive things the way we do? What are we living for? How can we reimagine our relationships to the human and non-human world? The Forum proposes that the project of freedom is a project of making a world with others. So, we invite you to help us answer: what can we do now?

Please bring your ideas, proposals, questions to discuss following the talk.

1 thought on “What is my hangup with work? (An exercise)

  1. Ok so here’s a list of some of the resources that got brought up:

    Of course to start, Jenny Odell wrote: “How To Do Nothing, Resisting the Attention Economy” arguing for the complexity, nuance, contemplation, and conviviality (incl. with the non-human world) and things not considered productive in a Capitalist framework: care, maintenance, and sustenance.

    And is currently writing a book where it may cover the following:

    1. She observed that her students needed more time period.
    2. Time would need to be protected from being seen as simply… more work time.

    The skill of time management related to a Neoliberal austerity applied to one’s own life and self

    and trying to figure out who takes on the responsibility/risk of backing out of the highly competitive atmosphere…


    tying these things together:

    1. The experience of a person who has no time or temporal autonomy
    2. The experience of the person who thinks they have no temporal autonomy due to cultural values or meritocracy
    3. The experience of running down the climate clock.

    Getting more precise:
    Who owns your time, who controls your time, whose clock do you live on and if your time is money, money for whom?

    Then mentioned the following:

    – The Union organizing in the Bay Area in 1934
    – Mia Birdsong “How We Show Up Reclaiming Family Friendship and Community”
    (and calling for a culture shift)
    – Time in terms of Climate Dread (racing against the doom state clock close to midnight)
    – The study “Pressed for Time” The Differential Impacts of a Time Squeeze
    (the term Harriedness: Substative Overload, Disorganized Rhythms, and Temporal Density)
    – Barbara Adams “Chronodiversity” (Tempo & Intensity surround us)
    – Sarah Hendren’s “What Can a Body Do?” (Crypto Time)
    – Alison Kafer ‘Crip’ Time
    – Hartmut Rosa: “Social Acceleration: Ethical and Political Consequences of a De-synchronized High–Speed Society” (And Universal Basic Free Time)(And the Black Tax)
    – Kathy Week’s “The Problem with Work”

    “what’s lost when we leave the dimension of work unquestioned and take wage labor as a given she writes when we have no memory or little imagination of an alternative to a life centered on work there are a few incentives to reflect on why we work as we do and what we might wish to do instead.”

    – William Morris (Worthy Work involves Pleasure & Satisfaction)
    – Naomi Klein’s recent interview about her friends who live communally
    – Astra Taylor “Out of Time”
    – Doris Sloane “Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region”
    – Ecological Time, Geological Time, Animal Logic
    – Marcia Bjornerud “Timefulness”
    – Decades of union organizing gave us the 8-hour work day
    – Working hour regulations (Paid Leave & Subsidized Child Care)
    – Philip Dray “There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America”
    – Emily Guendelsberger “On the Clock. What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane.”
    – Ergonomics and Labor Time
    – Frederick Winslow Taylor (Scientific Management)
    – the Protestant Work Ethic
    – Western Clocks and Navigation & Imperialism
    – How the International Date Line shows the social construction of time for convenience
    – The Project of Capitalist Temporal Hegemony
    – Giordano Nanni “Colonization of Time” (history of the British Colonists efforts to impose Protestant time reckoning on Indigenous populations in Australia and South Africa)
    – Gavin Mueller’s upcoming book “Breaking Things at Work. The Luddites Are Right About Why You Hate Your Job”
    – Keiichi Mastsuda’s 360-degree short film “Merger”
    – Marx’s Capital as explained in David Harvey’s lectures
    – Jackie Wang “Carceral Capitalism”
    – Richard Mcguire “Here” (an Art book with literal simultaneous windows of time)
    – Barbara Ehrenreich “Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, Ourselves to Live Longer the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer”
    – Bertold Brect’s last poem “When in my White Room at the Charité”

    and others or Jenny in the comments brought up:

    – adrienne maree brown’s “Emergent Strategies”
    – Josef Pieper’s “Leisure the Basis of Culture”
    – Social Temporal Structures (like Holidays)
    – Creative Time / Ritual Time
    – Privatized Time (vs. Public or Free Time)
    – Agrarian Time & James C. Scott
    – Theories of Distributive Justice
    – Multi-tasking
    – Time-Blindness (ADHD) and (Now vs. Not Now)
    – The Pill & IUD how they shift conceptions of time physically
    – Grocery Stores where there is the arrested temporality of foods to have them later
    – Non-Orthogonal Elements of Plans
    – Techniques and Civilization by Lewis Mumford (on Monastic Time)
    – Tehching Hsieh’s piece “The Cage”
    – Oliver Berkamen “Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives”
    – Martin Hägglund’s “This Life” an account of Marx’s view of Time and Spirituality
    – Kentridge (the refusal of time, physically hurting ourselves through the parsing of time)
    – Indigenous Naming Systems for Seasons
    – In Italian, “Making Art” is different from the verb for “Labor” How Language is tied to our concepts of time.
    – In German the word for “Rest After Your Work is Done”
    – Lydia Greer said that her favorite animator Yurl Norstein, is called the Golden Snail because it takes him 10 – 20 years to create 1 film.

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