Valuing Slowness

Jean at creativity/machine has some intriguing entries about her PhD research on new media. In particular, I’m interested in her criticism of a certain brand of new media scholarship that is “too busy trying to find the cutting edge,” adding that she “was gobsmacked to find that it said there was not enough emphasis on the future” [an aside: I need to figure out a way to work “gobsmaked” into my everyday vocabulary]. Jean then offers some “manifestoey statements” the need for slowness when it comes to evaluating new media, calling for more attention, in particular to slowness and boredom because they might, in fact, have a lot to tell us about the celebration of all things accelerated.

She’s also talking about online video sharing sites, such as Youtube and JumpCut, a topic I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately [worth noting: Jason McElwain, the autistic high school student who gained some brief web fame when a video of him sinking six three-point baskets hit the web now has a movie deal with Columbia Pictures. Magic Johnson is set to executive produce.].

Update: Odd timing. As soon as I posted this entry about Jean’s discussion of “slowness,” I found Michael Joyce’s treatment of the same concept in “Forms of Future,” anthologized in Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Joyce writes that “in our technologies, our cultures, our entertainments and, increasinbgly, the way we constitute our communities and families we live in an anticipatory state of constant nextness” (227), later adding that “I hope I do not disappoint you with my slowness” (228). More later as I work through this concept.

Update 2: I forgot to mention that I found this entry at Purse Lip Square Jaw. While I’m in the neighborhood, I also want to point to Anne’s entry on Rick Poynor’s essay, “The Death of the Critic.”


  1. Nick Said,

    April 20, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

    Chuck–thanks for the link to this very good entry on “slowness”–I think there’s a form of healthy resistance in slowness (plus I can’t help but think of “The Slow Club” from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.)

  2. Chuck Said,

    April 21, 2006 @ 10:26 am

    Wow–I’m trying to remember the last time I saw Blue Velvet. Maybe I should teach it this fall, just so that I have an excuse to watch it again.

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