Born just a few miles from where Google’s massive complex now reigns, Jenny Odell grew up in the burgeoning Silicon Valley of the 80s and 90s. Passionate about the visual and written arts, she decided to study design to combine the two, but at first did not realize how much her hometown would influence her art.
Her works thrust themselves into the contemporary technological world, yet evoke perennial, natural themes. She uses Google Maps and Google Earth to collect scattered photos from across the planet. With these selected images, she pieces together mosaics of terrestrial harmony and plays with the act of creation.
Odell, citing the philosopher Walter Benjamin‘s (1892-1940) quotation:“Thus the life of a collector manifests a dialectical tension between the poles of disorder and order” in her blog, traverses the line between two ideas. She employs the logical, technological order of maps to explore then breaks these virtual words down into morsels that are collected and rearrange. In this process, she destroys one order and invokes the chaos of imagination to create a new and differently beautiful one.
If you enjoy her work, you can try your hand at Jenny Odell’s method with a little bit of imagination and some good Photo editing software.
(Translated from Anne Ataton’s French original)