by Samantha Dols — American University
March 26, 2017 – 10:24
In 2013, Al Jazeera reported on an emerging media tradition in Norway: "A new kind of reality TV show was born, and it goes against the rules of TV engagement. There is no story line, no script, no drama, no climax. And it’s called Slow TV." The phenomenon, however, represents something much more than a novel format for television. Through its unique characteristics - slow format, avowing of agency to the audience, and the reverence of culturally specific artifacts - Slow TV represents a counterhegemonic force, which confounds the orthodox blueprint of time, power, and control in the relationship between the media and the public. Furthermore, through the adaptation of Joseph Nye’s Soft Power, it can be argued that Slow TV elicits a type of Slow Power, in which media leaders can cultivate new levels of cohesion and national pride among their audiences. Derived from the long endurance and pace of its content, the nomenclature itself spurs an ontological exploration into the definition of time - the designation of “slow” to describe something that literally unfolds in real time suggests disparity in the way media influences and regulates the mainstream understanding of and relationship to time. And what does Norway’s Slow TV mean for the rest of the world? While it does not damage the standards of Universal Time, it does make a statement. Amidst a growing tendency toward speedup culture, Norway proclaims, “We choose slowness. We celebrate slow.” And while this creates cohesion within the country, it could, inadvertently create distance between those unable to prioritize slowness, due to economic or political circumstances. As this media internationalizes, other countries can harness the formula to increase national unity and redistribute power. With live, highly participatory, all-inclusive media events with culturally resonant themes and motifs (placed in primetime), media leaders can disrupt chronography and evoke Slow Power.