Mindful Slow-Looking with The Fotomuseum

For their 5th Slow Art Day, The Fotomuseum in Antwerp, Belgium, provided a virtual slow-looking mindfulness exercise (in Dutch) for people at home during the Covid19 pandemic.

Title picture of the instructions for the event Slow Art Day at Home organised by the Fotomuseum, Antwerp.

Participants were encouraged to choose an image, drawing or photo to look at for 5-10 minutes and find a comfortable seated position. The Fotomuseum outlined 5 stages for its meditative slow-looking activity:

1) Relax

“Close your eyes. Pay attention to your breath, and put one hand on your stomach to feel it. If your mind wanders, return to your breath. Breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 6. Repeat this 5 times.”

2) Look at your artwork

“Open your eyes and look at the artwork with the same alertness you had for your breath. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you notice?
  • What colors, composition, shapes and materials do you see?
  • Does the artwork remind you of events from your own life?
  • Would anyone else notice the same things as you?

If your mind wanders, try to return to the image.”

3) Breathe

“Close your eyes a second time, and return focus to your breathing. Take a few deep breaths so you feel the air flow deeply into your lungs, and then breathe as normal again. Pay attention to any thoughts about the artwork, but try to not lose yourself in them. Return to your breathing again.”

4) Look a second time

“Open your eyes and look at the artwork for the second time.

  • What stands out to you now?
  • Do you notice anything new?
  • Does the artwork take on a new meaning for you?”

5) Reflect

“Take a moment to reflect on the exercise.

  • Did you notice yourself thinking or looking in a different way?
  • Do you have a new or different connection with the artwork?”

The original in-person event planned by the museum attracted interest from over 150 prospective attendees, and the online instructions were shared to Facebook with 50+ interactions.

At Slow Art Day HQ we have loved using these thoughtful instructions for our own slow-looking. Try them out at home for yourself!

We look forward to The Fotomuseum’s 6th Slow Art Day in 2021 ― hopefully in their actual museum.

– Johanna

Note: The above instructions were translated from the original Dutch.

PS – You may want to take a look at the webinar they did for Slow Art Day last year.

Multi-sensory Slow Art Day at BOZAR

BOZAR Center of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium hosted participants ages 10 to 70 in their multi-sensory 4th annual Slow Art Day in 2019.

Attendees focused on the exhibition Bernard van Orley: Brussels and the Renaissance, where they meditated in front of the rich landscapes within Bernard van Orley’s tapestries while listening to polyphonic renaissance music. Visitors also looked at portraits of the powerful but tragic Margaret of Austria while listening to her life story.

Participants reportedly went home with peaceful smiles.

We love to hear of such creative Slow Art Days, and look forward to BOZAR’s participation in 2020.

Ashley

Slow Art Day Belgium & Mindfulness Webinar

Join us for our first webinar of the 2018-2019 season when the leaders of Slow Art Day Belgium takes us through their innovative mindfulness program.

Wed, Sept 12

– 11:00am NYC time
– 08:00am California time
– 16:00 London time
– 17:00 Paris time

Register here to join us:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/980687799284256001

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Belgium has long had a very active Slow Art Day community – one of the most active in the world.

In this webinar, we’ll hear from FARO – the Flemish Interface for Cultural Heritage – and their partner, the Photo Museum in Antwerp.

They have prepared a short 3 minute film and a set of slides to walk us through what they have learned about producing effective Slow Art Day events.

Should be a great presentation and conversation.

– Phil Terry
Founder, Slow Art Day

Slow Art Day 2017 in Brussels

Host Lieve Raymaekers at BOZAR in Brussels, Belgium writes of their Slow Art Day 2017 experience,

It was again (our second) great experience. Very mindful and peaceful, joyful…We started with a group meditation of 5 minutes around a Pol Bury fountain. We walked in silence throughout the exhibition before starting the slow looking exercises. The guides used hourglasses to measure the time and bell to mark the beginning and end of each exercise. The participants chose works themselves to look at. Most works of Pol Bury move very slowly and in unexpected ways. They invite you to look slowly and take your time. The drawing exercise – choose one work to draw (what you see, feel, imagine…) for 10 minutes – worked very well. The discussions after each exercise and at the end (we took 2 hours) were very inspiring.
Some quotes:

– When you look slowly you’ll remember better what you’ve seen
– Slow looking helps to better understand the artist
– When you look at less works you see more
– The experience of Slow Art Day makes the experience of the visit of the exhibition so much more interesting than when it’s “just another exhibit you’ve seen”
– When you take your time to look you can feel emotions coming up

Slow lookers at BOZAR, Brussels. Image © Amélie Detienne.