Paul Virilio’s essay The Aesthetics of Disappearance, considers the motivations and repercussions of a contemporary society fascinated by speed. He notes that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower.

Virilio is precisely attuned to the culturally correlated obsession with moving (driving, flying, riding) at high speeds and viewing moving images. Everywhere, life seems to be speeding up: we talk for example about ‘fast food’ or ‘speed dating’, and these issues become essential while considering the structuring of a society in relation to modern media. Living in an accelerated state of the being, life is passing by. Since the abruption of social networks in the Internet era, this sensation of swiftness has become even more radicalized. The instantaneous communication across web 2.0 and the speed of interactions has created the feeling of a contradiction between an idea of constant presence and that of the disappearance of the body in a constant trajectory of ‘self-dissemination’.

Taking as example the city tourism, we can notice that the cultural consumption has a tendency to trivialize and generalize the notion of travelling. Travel packages that most tourism agencies offers, for example 'Amsterdam in 24 hours', can include a visit to the Red-light district, a boat trip through the canals, Heineken experience, and of course, the mandatory visit to Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, Hermitage and another of the 50 museums that the cultural program of Amsterdam offers, which will engross the statistics of cultural visitors.

In our opinion this cannot even be considered as art consumption, it is just an artistic indigestion, mistrusting in some way the process of cultural comprehension.   

Slow Down Winter Performance Festival, proposes to be a cultural re-action to this emergency situation. Winter is the season when nature takes the time to regenerate itself, a standby period that opens space for reflection and regeneration.

As creative individuals who belong to this hastened society, what we propose with Slow Down is to give a time alternative in the mode of an art practice being shared with Others. A committed winter attitude.

Performance is a time-based art discipline, being an ephemeral action that disappears with time, so the practice of such a discipline blends in a perfect way with the questioning of time. Coming from different angles and approaches, the selection of artist/art works, proposes a break in the conventional way of performing. The idea of ‘ongoing’ gives the artwork a specific temporal dimension. We are discussing performances whose durational nature offers the audience the freedom of time consumption.

Durational performance is a format in which the very agency of time is brought to the forefront. The time-span of the performance exceeds the average length of a ‘standard’ performance which, in Western culture, is about 1 ½ hours. Repetition, contemplation or interactivity with the audience are integrated in a phenomenological strategy to explore our understanding of time as an existential and cultural concept.

Slow performances open the time of reflection and comprehension.