An interesting discussion about the nature of art and Slowness appeared this week in the online magazine Temporary Art Review. Slow Criticism: Art in the Age of Post- Judgement;, Anya Ventura.
The article is premised on our current urban rhythms and our unpracticed ability to slow our steps down enough to be able to take a thorough and lingering look, in this context, at works of art in a museum. She qualifies this act of slowing as a radical and subversive act in a world of Capital production:
One of the tactics in a labor dispute is called a slowdown, which is exactly as it sounds: workers perform all their regular tasks yet at a severely slackened pace. In reducing productivity, this lag is a form of resistance to a capitalist system based on speed and efficiency. It is no wonder that our word “speed” derives from the Old English sped, which relates to success, prosperity, wealth, opportunity, and advancement. In contrast, slowness is often negatively linked to disability, yet what we often fail to see is that disability, that state of being outside what’s considered “normal,” can be transformative: showing us how to live differently from the status quo. To be slow is to be disobedient to the world as it is. I like to imagine what a slowdown might look like, the ballet of the factory or dockyards in revolt, the arms and legs floating for a moment longer in space, a slowness so useless it borders on the aesthetic. Because what is organized movement without teleology, after all, but a dance? Art wants to be slow.
The act of making in this subversive slow nature is nothing new to the weaving studio.
For this first posting of Studio News, I am sharing some progress images of the making of a current studio commission. This project is being made for an upcoming boutique hotel in the heart of Portland’s Pearl district. The client was interested in the humor of paper towel but wanted something more site/Portland specific. Using a similar spoof – subverting and elevating the status of discarded paper products, mass production, and print in relationship to slowness and the regal history tapestry, I worked closely with the art representative Heidi McBride and the Portland Mercury to propose this design.
Seeing the slow nature of this making, it is easy to understand the connection between this action of deceleration, patience, and immersive attention that Ventura is discussing.
This project is slated for installation in August. More progress images coming soon.
Finally – Another take the nature of slow: Olafur Eliasson’s slow motion studio