Image Credit: Lisha Riabinina

Slowness

First established in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, Slow Food is one of a growing number of slow movements seeking to reorient our relationship to time and, in particular, to consumption. As its named suggests, Slow Food is a response to the fast food industry—Agricola, Slow Food’s forerunner, protested the opening of a McDonald’s close to the Spanish Steps in Rome. In rejecting industrial globalised food production by returning to local and traditional gastronomic practices, Slow Food cultivates slowness as not only sustainable but better.  

Such forms of slowness are easily critiqued as a form of privilege accessible to few as the expansion of previous labour conditions continues. Indeed, economists would be hard pressed to advocate the benefits of a slowing economy. Nevertheless, faced with the consequences of the unfettered extraction of resources, both human and non-human, accelerationism is no longer tenable. How then might slowness be considered a viable, critical alternative?

In On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary (2014), Lutz Koepnick defines slowness as an aesthetic strategy that reveals the present in all its manifoldness, as the co-presence of multiple temporalities or the compression of time compounded.   

If slowness activates an awareness of the multifoldness of our contemporary present, what else might it produce? How might slowness become generative?

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