Slow Media Art: Seeing Through Speed in Critiques of Modernity


Session Title:

  • Theory and Critique

Presentation Title:

  • Slow Media Art: Seeing Through Speed in Critiques of Modernity



  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Slowness, duration, mobility, critique, locative media, environment.

    The “Slow Movement,” originally associated with conservation efforts in food consumption or city planning, has rapidly spread to many other areas of culture and commerce. This paper anticipates future articulations of “slow art” in general and “slow media art” in particular, as a path to new critiques and perspectives on the modern desire to “slow down.” As a term, Slow Media Art offers some unique opportunities for considering contemporary appeals to slowness as based in both sensation and structural understandings of social order. When viewed in light of the history of artists’ ambivalence toward modernization, and with an eye to recent scholarship on media abstention, the notion of slowness proves a useful frame for foregrounding the essentially relational nature of speed. Within such a frame, the many paradoxes and contradictions within appeals to slowness appear rather as efforts at positioning by modern subjects in relation to one another; the move to “go slow” is almost always a move to “go slower than” someone or something else. Slow Media Art, through its deep engagement with sensation, duration, and speed, helps bring such relations, and their motivations, into view.

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