Given the contemporary fascination with and, indeed, addiction to real-time media dispatch and commentary, what would it mean to speak of "slow media"? Dare we even think such a thing when everything around us screams of increased speed, increased bandwidth, and increased convergence? We are 24-7, we are always-on, we are connected; we are locatable, we are X/Y coordinated, we are plotted; we are status updated, we are tweet-fed, we are real-time media junkies and we don't have time to slow down.
"Slow media" is surely inimical to the age of social media and 24-hour news channels, where we live immersed in a mediascape dedicated to reducing to nothing the temporal division between the occurrence of an "event" and its reportage. In such a scenario, "slow media" appears either heretical or retrogressive, a wanton disregarding of the patent necessity of instant information dissemination and rampant friending, or just another Luddite reaction-formation. Indeed, "slow media" as a term has already been spun-off from the "slow" movement more generally, and is used to describe the reduced media diet of people turning off the email, closing the facebook, and going outside for a sniff of the flowers.
But while "slow media" as a term may appear primarily to describe a mode of resistance, it also allows us to think about the speed of the media as such. Have our popular media always been increasing in speed? What is the end point of all of this, the apotheosis of real-time: are we, as Bernard Stiegler suggests, approaching the "time barrier"? And, what happens when we break it?
For this issue of Transformations, we invite papers that meditate on the speeds and slownesses of the contemporary moment. Papers could address, but would need not be limited to, any of the following themes:
- real-time and the news media
- social media and the status update
- new media explorations of speed and slowness
- artistic responses to speed and time
- social media suicide: suicidemachine.org and seppukoo
- the "slow" movement and resistance
- histories of speed in the media
- tweet-streams and data-feeds
- bandwidth, access and connectivity
Abstracts (500 words): due 1st July 2010, with a view to submit articles by 1st October.
Abstracts should be sent to Grayson Cooke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View Transformations online: http://www.transformationsjournal.org.