Slowing it down for art

by | Oct 30, 2016 | Worth a Look

Did you know that the average human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish? Yipes. I also read that an average person has 70,000 thoughts per day, which is an average of 49 per minute. That’s a lot.

We live under the (self-imposed) demand of a franticly paced, digitally fueled world, so it’s only too healthy to sometimes stop and smell the proverbial roses. And while it’s fun scrolling and liking everyone’s every moment while mulling over of our own next post, we need to sometimes put down the iPhone/Android and experience the world around us, in real time and with good posture and eyes facing upwards. Or bring it way down to enjoy some supine moments on the couch with Norway’s “Slow TV” (now available on Netflix, by the by).

I heard an awesome TED Talk on “Slowing Down: What can we learn from slowing down — even procrastinating?“ One of the featured speakers was NY-based artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo.

Barcia-Colombo noticed that our current art viewing experience has dwindled to an eight-second event- glance, phone snap and onto the next. And he laments this current disconnect and its related erosion of intimacy in our contemporary context. His contention is that art is best savored through a durational engagement and interaction (sans phone). His multimedia, time-based work encourages and provides such an opportunity.

In his TED talk, Barcia-Colombo takes us on a wonderful 10-minute, in case you’re counting, survey of his works that explore and challenge our current relationship with time and technology.

Barcia-Colombo, New York Minute, Fulton Center, NY, Courtesy of the artist, photo Rob Wilson

His “New York Minute” installation at New York’s Fulton Center in partnership with MTA’s Arts and Design program presented video portraits of ordinary New Yorkers shot at 2000 frames/second rendered in 30 seconds clips that appeared on 52 screens every ten minutes between high-octane digital advertising. His aim was to gently interrupt and juxtapose the white noise of New Yorkers’ commonplace hustle with tender, poetic and often humorous moments of humanity.

Barcia-Colombo, New York Minute, Fulton Center, NY, Courtesy of the artist, photo Rob Wilson

Here’s a link to New York Minute on his website that shows the piece in situ.

Watch Barcia-Colombo’s full TED talk here. Worth the ten minutes. Promise. Barcia-Colombo is a delight.


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