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Doing deceleration symposium at Nottingham Contemporary.

We started the day in the project space of Nottingham Contemporary exploring the theme of ‘Doing Deceleration’. This was an event open to the wider public, not just the Summer Lodge.
A full list and recordings of all the speakers are available on the Nottingham Contemporary website.

Emma Cocker introduced the theme with a call to action to nurture our capacity to linger, to tarry, to wander.
I was reminded of Rebecca Solnit’s book – A field guide to getting lost. There is a value in not always knowing the way and in not being continually busy. As artists we need to wander off the path sometimes.
This was a call to step away from productivity, from being on 24/7, to turn off our devices. To do less but to do it better.

How does ‘doing deceleration’ apply to an art practice? How can our own work benefit from deceleration? From time off the path?

This event was about ‘deceleration’ as a critique – a critique of the institution, and a critique of the way we live. It was also about deceleration as a creative approach and it ranged widely across art, politics and philosophy.

The Danish philosopher, Finn Janning was live via Skype and asked the question,
‘What problem is the concept of doing deceleration solving?’

For him doing deceleration is an affirmative strategy – a way to avoid what B-C Han calls The Burnout Society. Finn has written a book called The Happiness of Burnout. An interesting title for anyone interested in happiness or burnout.

The last speaker was Danica Maier, who introduced the thinking behind the Summer Lodge residency.

A space to pursue new ideas. Experimentation focussed on the process of practice not the outcomes and the importance of others being around.

A laboratory model where outcome is a contested term. Instead we have the Non-(outcome). A space for reading, playing, researching, testing, thinking, talking, doing, not-doing, eating and drinking!

Reminding me of the importance of sharing food, and the value of those conversations over lunch or dinner.

Speculative activities – sharing – openness – generosity – the uncertainty of not knowing in front of other people.
Doing deceleration.