Slow TV


I am fascinated by Slow TV. Particularly its Scandinavian iteration, which shows real-time footage of a mundane, physical activity.  For example, they broadcast 134 hours of footage from a boat sailing up the Norwegian coast, 8 hours of a log fire burning and 5 hours of knitting.  Apparently it is incredibly popular.

Its popularity is no surprise to me. When I worked at the Children's Hospital, one of the TV stations was a live stream of the new hospital being built next door.  The patients'  parents loved watching the work site. They would watch the earth-moving equipment digging for hours.  Some parents would give me daily updates on what was happening 'on-site.'

I think the key features of this type of slow TV are: 
1. lack of narrative
2. lack of commentary. 
3. ideally, the viewer's lack of technical knowledge of the task. I don't think it's really 'slow' if the viewer is able to critique the activity.  It seems 'slower' if they are a detached observer.  Watching a construction site would be slow TV for me, but not for a carpenter.

These criteria fit with Warhol's original 'slow' films, 'Sleep' (a guy sleeping) and 'Empire' (eight hours of the Empire State building).

I often finish work *late* in the night, arriving home  hyped up from a busy shift. There would be nothing better than watching someone knit for an hour to prepare me for bed. Televisual meditation. Last year I tried to watch Breaking Bad and it was way too stressful.  I finally gave up after doing a trauma shift, arriving home at 1:30am and watching the episode where the dude's head gets crushed by the ATM machine.  Suffice it to say, Breaking Bad is not a 'night night, sleep tight' television show.

But more than being relaxing, I like the aesthetic of slow TV- engaging aesthetically in a mundane physical activity.  



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