Attention pays. In today‘s online economy it has become a commodity to be bought and sold. Bombarding us with free smartphone apps and news websites, developers and advertisers have turned how and on what to focus our attention into the world‘s fastest growing industry.
In exchange for our attention, information and entertainment is ever at our fingertips. But at what cost? In this essay, at once personal and polemical, meditative and militant, Julia Bell asks what has been lost in this trade-off. How can we reclaim our attention? In a world of infinite distraction, how can attention become radical?
In this video short, Julia Bell reads from her book Radical Attention and presents several exercises in attention, inviting the participants to write by hand instead of utilizing a touchscreen.
2020, Interactive reading on Zoom
Presented at Ecology of Attention#4: stand out of our light.
Julia Bell is a writer and Reader in Creative Writing at Birkbeck where she is the course director of the MA in Creative Writing. Her work includes poetry, essays, and short stories published in the Paris Review, Times Literary Supplement, The White Review, Mal Journal, Comma Press, and recorded for the BBC. Her most recent book-length essay, Radical Attention, was published by Peninsula Press.