Introduction: As Slowly As Possible

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This special issue of ASAP/Journal is dedicated to the concept of slowness. The title of our introduction, "As Slowly as Possible"—apart from serving as a pun on the commonplace connotation of the acronym for the Association for the Study of the Art of the Present—honors John Cage's signature 1987 piece ORGAN2/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) by underscoring the relationality of the notion of slowness: slow is always "slow in relation to." In this issue, we explore what engaging with slowness as relational can reveal—and what it can bring to a journal specifically committed to the arts of the present. We second ASAP's observation that our increasingly complexified present urges us to constantly engage with our own contemporaneity, and we put forward the notion of slowness as highly productive in interrogating our current political and aesthetic climate, not least in terms of globalization, consumerism, media regimes, and ecology. While slowness is thus addressed as key to an art of contemporaneity in this issue, what also comes to the fore is that the manifold aesthetics and politics of slowness enable us to connect the past to the present, often in a nonlinear manner. In exploring the thick layers of various time regimes, an art of the present, as a practice of contemporaneity, cannot do without acknowledging the individual and collective histories that constitute us. Relatedly, in exploring concepts of processuality across fields and genres, this issue demonstrates the fruitfulness of bringing the various arts of the present into conversation. It reveals how the notion of slowness takes on different meanings if performed or reflected upon through different artistic media (film, video, painting, literature, music, sound, performance, and dance), and is furthermore complicated by today's manifold intermedial art practices. Taken as such, slowness as relational resonates with the increasing interdependence of the various aesthetic and political processes that inform our global contemporary society by encouraging us to acknowledge the multilayeredness of these connections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-466
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


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