Slow Art: (noun) the visible or auditory result of creativity; the original work of art created by a person without assembling kits through instructions. Kit parts or kits assembled in a way not originally intended (the kind of re-assembly that violates warranties) count as slow art. Used first by Quinn McDonald, who took the idea of Slow Food (the opposite of fast food, and meant to apply to food grown locally, cooked in simple ways that are both nourishing and enjoyable) into the creative world of the imagination.
I’ve written about the value of slow art before. More than once. The idea has moved beyond art and into general creativity. Inspired by Do-It-Yourself channels, the imagination has taken creativity into the most interesting corners.
Perhaps the digital world is not as satisfying as we hoped. In the 1960s, visions of the future included lives with computers that did all the work, while people enjoyed far more leisure. But we don’t have leisure anymore. The 40-hour work week is non-existent; we stay at the office longer and longer to prove our “passion” for our work. When we leave, we beg to have our lives interrupted via phones, beepers, Blackberries, and computer cameras. We love being available at work.
And a certain contingent is rebelling against the organization that everything is virtual. The artists who delight in Slow Art want independence from digital compliance. So they hack and mock their way into a new world of creativity.
Instructables.com defines itself as the “world’s biggest show and tell.” You can learn how to draw (analog or digital), bake bread, get a tree planted on your block in San Francisco, or create a spill-proof tray for your Honda Odyssey. This is original work by people who want to let others know an easier, better, or more interesting way to live their life.
If you are a bit geekier, you can go over to makezine.com, which will show you how to make a Minthesizer– is a low voltage, low power, analog synthesizer. If you are a low-level geek, there is an article for a foolproof way to open a bottle of wine. My favorite is the crossover from PDA to altered art–a hardback book turned into a “laptop PDA” by a combination of art and hack.
Hackzine reclaims the word hacker for the good guys by bringing the technorati together in the blogosphere to improve technological devices. Sure you can run Linnux apps in Windows, but I’m really interested in drawing holograms by hand.
My mood is lifting. Art and the imagination are not dead. It’s simply moved into the streets as a pick-up game of mental play, where mixed media gets a whole new meaning and anything original can be improved on. It’s a wonderful next step into the magical realm of Slow Art where originality counts more than price, and sharing information is part of the joy.
–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and artist who values Slow Art. See her work at QuinnCreative.com