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.

Jigsaws and Meditative Drawing with the Georgia Museum of Art

For their 5th Slow Art Day, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, combined two meditative art techniques by artist Anna Bogatin Ott: Slow Looking and Slow Drawing.

Slow Looking

For the slow looking activity, participants were invited to look closely at the painting Aurora by Anna Bogatin Ott, and were guided by prompts via a PDF file, such as:

  • “How do the repetitive marks guide your gaze around the painting?”
  • “Imagine the painting so far away it becomes a speck, then zoom in so close that it’s touching your nose.”
Anna Bogatin Ott (American, b. Ukraine 1970), Aurora (River Wanderings 7714), 2014 – 15. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches (122 x 122 centimeters). Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; Gift of the artist, GMOA 2017.34.

Since Ott’s art is inspired by nature, participants were also encouraged to reflect on similarities between the colors of the painting and nature.

“I engage all my senses, dissolve into surrounding sounds, become immersed in the nature’s logic of being, and then, from memory, I recreate my experiences in drawings and paintings.”

Anna Bogatin Ott

Slow Drawing

For the slow drawing part of the event, participants were encouraged to draw horizontal lines while trying to stay in touch with their physical sensations focusing attention on the sound of their breath, the feel of the texture of the paper, and the visual effect of negative and positive space between the lines. The activity became a mindful way of remaining present through a multi-sensory art experience.

Slow Drawing Instructions (PDF) for Slow Art Day, 2020, by The Georgia Museum of Art.

Pre-event Virtual Jigsaw Puzzle

Leading up to the main event, the museum shared a virtual interactive jigsaw puzzle of their featured painting to their Facebook page. Several participants completed the jigsaw, and the post reached 647 readers.

Virtual jigsaw of Anna Bogatin Ott’s Aurora, available: www.jigsawplanet.com. Courtsey of The Georgia Museum of Art. Screenshot by Johanna.

Without being formally promoted, their event was a social media success with over 2000 Instagram impressions and 185 Facebook interactions.

The Slow Art Day HQ team has loved participating in these mindful activities. They made us feel centered and at peace, which is a big part of what Slow Art Day is all about.

We look forward to seeing more of The Georgia Museum of Art’s immersive events – hopefully for Slow Art Day 2021.

-Johanna and Ashley

Immersive Mindfulness at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Third Slow Art Day

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) in West Bretton, UK hosted their third Slow Art Day, “Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day: To Breathe” by Kimsooja, a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist based in New York, Paris, and Seoul. 

Participants were invited for a private viewing of Kimsooja’s immersive installation in the historic chapel at YSP, which used light and mirrors to explore the meditative qualities of space. The mirrored floor and diffraction film in the windows responded to changes in natural light, generating a kaleidoscope of changing colors and reflections.

Photo by Mark Reeves

This year’s event was part of a program of mindfulness and art events developed by Art and Wellbeing Practitioner Rachel Howfield Massey and Mindfulness Instructor Sally Edward of Kindmind. Together they invited the group to take off their shoes and stand, sit, and lie on the mirrored floor for forty minutes and notice the changes around them and within their own bodies.

The group silently experienced moments of awe and joy when light flooded the space, and periods of quiet contemplation as the intensity of light changed from moment to moment. 

Photo by Mark Reeves

After the event, participants enjoyed hot drinks and pastries in the YSP Restaurant and took part in a gently facilitated discussion. They reported feeling a sense of heightened emotions and expansiveness. Here’s what one participant said:

“I feel like we have been on a journey and travelled far and back safely. How lovely the simplicity of this – simple yet so powerful. I feel very relaxed and empowered with a new tool – how to ‘to be’ with art.”

We look forward to seeing what mindful and immersive experiences the Yorkshire Sculpture Park programs for Slow Art Day in 2020.

– Ashley

Mindful Slow Art Sells Out at SFM0MA

For Slow Art Day 2019, Michelle Nye, Manager of Gallery Programs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, brought in Claudia L’Amoreaux of Mindful Digital Life to lead the day.

Nye selected selected 5 artists for the event: Apexer, Deladier AlmediaDavid BeckerRobert Larson, and Emma Webster.

Participants looked for 10 minutes at each artwork and then had a group discussion about the experience (and a light lunch). The museum sold special tickets for Slow Art Day at $10 each (including the food) and sold out the event.

L’Amoreaux wrote about a common part of the Slow Art Day experience – the surprising nature of slow time and of focused looking.

When everyone started, I think we were all thinking 10 minutes was an impossible eternity to look at one piece of art. But afterwards, many of us shared how quickly the 10 minutes passed and how surprised we were by what we noticed, especially with pieces we weren’t especially attracted to.

Claudia L’Amoreaux

Phil

P.S. We are planning a webinar with Nye and L’Amoreaux to discuss the design of their event. More on that soon.

Wonderful Webinar w/Belgian Slow Art Day Leaders

We had a wonderful webinar with the leaders of the Belgian Slow Art Day movement, Katrijn D’ hammers and Tinne Langens.

During the webinar, they also showed this very good 4 minute video that they just produced about their mindfulness and Slow Art program.

Background on Slow Art Day in Belgium

Turns out that Belgium has a wonderful central group – FARO (the Flemish Interface Center for Cultural Heritage) – that facilitates the work of museums, archives, and heritage libraries. FARO offers training, study trips, publications and was launched in 2008. Katrijn has worked at FARO since the beginning and has coordinated the support for Slow Art Day across Belgium from FARO since 2014.

She and her colleague, Tinne Langens, who is the head of Education and Policy Programs at Antwerp’s FOTO Museum, have developed (and are continuing to develop) a set of mindfulness programs that integrate with Slow Art Day but go much further in terms of the creation of new kinds of tools, approaches, and methods.

Enjoy the recording.

-Phil

Slow Art Day podcast with special guest Christian Adame

Listen to the Slow Art Day live podcast recorded Tuesday, September 12, 2017 with Slow Art Day hosts around the world and our special guest Christian Adame, longtime Slow Art Day host and Assistant Education Director at the Phoenix Art Museum. Christian designed and piloted the Slow Art & Mindfulness Summer Series at the Phoenix Art Museum this summer.
He talked us about this pilot program and what they learned and answered questions from listeners.

You can download the podcast or listen to it below.