Slow, the proposed video-installation’s title, derives from capitalism’s conception of time that values speed. Formulated in terms of this concept, Slow: Stalled Futures posits automobiles as a motif for the apotheosis of growth in the 20th century. Automotive technologies developed to realise our aspirations in the past centuries, making the world smaller by compressing space by time. The selfsame human relation to technology can be found with data and information technology, through which video has become a ubiquitous presence in contemporary life. Reflecting this socio-technological sphere of video, the artist focuses on digital video as data and information, an embodiment of time–space compression in that capitalist sense, with an emphasis on the affinity of the forward movement of the moving image with automobiles.
This proposed installation suggests reconsideration of the capitalist drive for speed through the presented slow speed of digital video and presents stillness, ‘stalling’, as its antithesis. It revolves around digital-video works filmed in the geographical and economic peripheries of Tokyo. These are Japanese farming villages in which the population is ageing and dwindling because of industrialisation and centralisation. The minimalist depiction of unpeopled agricultural lands and roads delineates the reverberating sounds of passing automobiles within the sequence of single static shots. The stillness, the nothingness of that which is happening in these static shots, creates the effect of the ostensible lack of forward movement, embodying the theoretical state of stalling. This antithetical state of stalling allows the viewers to perceive the mundane yet rich details, otherwise likely to be overlooked, of those impoverished peripheries that subtly denote their relation to power.
Through inviting the audience to observe those irreducible micro details of the peripheries of one of the world economic powers delineated in the slow movement of the medium, Slow: Stalled Futures offers a macro reconsideration of modernity and of the exploitative relations that have been ignored in the history of growth as a universal issue. It conjures up images of the stalled futures imagined from the periphery, a futuristic imagining encompassing the totality of a prolonged modernity and a post-growth period.
In doing so, a new conception of digital video emerges from the intersection of its aesthetic language of speed and its forward movement. This entwined aesthetic and media-specific embodiment of the artistic exploration enquires into video as a contemporary medium of art, and manifests a site of contemplation as one such possibility in respect to modern political and economic history, mobility and technology.