Inhabiting the Negative Space

English language

Published March 10, 2021 by Sternberg Press.

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A hopeful meditation on how periods of inactivity become reimagined as fertile spaces for design and how we might use this strange moment in history.

“Hi, everyone. I'm speaking to you from my apartment in Oakland, though I've virtually placed myself in the rose garden nearby.”

Artist and writer Jenny Odell hadn't originally planned to deliver the Harvard University Graduate School of Design's 2020 Class Day Address from her living room. But on May 25, 2020, there was Jenny, framed by a rose garden in her Zoom background, speaking to an audience she could not see about the role of design in a suspended moment marked by uncertainty in a global pandemic. Odell's message, itself a timely reflection on observation, embraces the standstill and its potential to deepen and expand our individual and collective attention and sensitivity to time, place, and presence—in turn, perhaps, enabling us all, amid our “new” …

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