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November 5, 2013 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Norway's Slow-TV Revolution
posted by box (32 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously, previously.
posted by box at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2013


I would watch some of this.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:32 AM on November 5, 2013


I found the first few paragraphs so charming I am going to quit reading with a happy glow.
posted by shothotbot at 10:34 AM on November 5, 2013


There was a good story on slow TV on NPR this weekend.
posted by TedW at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2013


I watched over an hour of National Knitting Evening on Friday night. The commentator did a remarkable job of continuing to say new things long past the point when you would normally think that everything about competitive knitting had already been said. I learned that you can use left-over wool by planting it around seeds, it retains water and helps the seed grow. Also, about 45 minutes before the time they were trying to beat, someone came in with food for the knitters. The food was plain hot dogs. The commentator explained, at length, that food is necessary to sustain human life.
posted by theodolite at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2013 [33 favorites]


1.3 million viewers watched Norway's knitting broadcast in Norway. I'd love to know the actual number once the net streaming was added because my Twitter feed was choking on the amount of knitters around the world who watched, knitted & tweeted along. It felt pretty massive.

I had a geeky meltdown moment myself when one of my tweets made it onto the screen whilst Annemor Sundbo was talking.

Incidentally NRK (the Norwegian broadcaster) had two commentators working during the night. The first was a marvel and added technical know-how between translating knitting history & sociology. The other one came on later during the sheep-to-sweater challenge and was more of an enthusiastic amateur.

One of the best nights of TV that I remember: hugely interesting & immensely engaging .. and all the tweeting which made it feel like I was hanging out with 250 of the most passionate, thoughtful knitters ever. Yay.
posted by kariebookish at 10:47 AM on November 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


I would have to actually knit for 8-12 hours while watching others knit, but I can't imagine that I'd just turn on the tube to watch 8-12 hours of knitting.

That said, I love the concept.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2013


More Norwegian TV fun previously.
posted by Kabanos at 11:00 AM on November 5, 2013


This sounds totally great. I'm kinda obsessed with watching video game speedrunners right now. These people play video games as fast as possible, and of course this can be quite action-packed. However, watching a speedrunner's channel is a very slow thing.

Right now, Cosmo Wright and another runner are fighting for the world record in playing Castlevania 64. Cosmo's current world-record time is 43:27, and this has been whittled down over many months. So basically you're watching the same person repeat the same 44 minute sequence over and over, looking for differences of seconds here and there, while they mumble over the action.

I think it's just nice to watch a person (or thing) that is really good at what he/she/it does. Whether that's video games, knitting, or just being a train driving through mountains. It's relaxing. It's non-judgemental. It promotes a kind of mindfulness and acceptance. It's just... nice.
posted by sixohsix at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh.

Those ASMR videos of folks whispering and doing mundane things, like folding towels, maybe scratch the same itch.
posted by notyou at 11:51 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


24 hours of the life of a snail? Must be ratings week. All joking aside, this is great stuff.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:55 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


ASMR! Oh, there's a name for that feeling I get? And other people get it too? Cool, I thought it was just me.
posted by alasdair at 12:13 PM on November 5, 2013


"Stay tuned for the Paint Drying Power Hour."

"And coming up after Snow Melts, Grass Grows."
posted by notyou at 12:20 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is relevant to my interests. I was hated once a year, every year by many of my old roommates when I would DVR like 20 hours of the Yule Log HD, invariably kicking off some of their older stored programs that they hadn't told the box to never delete and had yet to watch.
posted by mediocre at 12:36 PM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


ASMR! Oh, there's a name for that feeling I get?

Holy hell, I was seriously going to make an AskMe today asking if there is a name for a certain type of vocal intonation, a sort of half whisper half speaking half singing that for reasons I cannot explain I just fucking LOVE and have my entire life. Except I didn't really have any examples to use, just that Anna Kendrick occasionally lapses into it and that Lily Allen song that T-Pain sampled sort of is like it. And that Bob Ross was seventy five percent at this undefinable vocal point one hundred percent of the time.
posted by mediocre at 12:55 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hiking the Swiss Alps is my favorite of this genre, I watched the whole thing. Wish there were more that used this particular technology. Oh wait, I see they have added a bunch more. Cool I'm off to the trail with an audiobook and Google Maps.
posted by stbalbach at 12:59 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would totally watch this. At the height of my Big Brother addiction - thankfully many years ago - I watched the live feed on E4 a lot. I watched hours of people sitting on couches not talking, sleeping, and generally pottering around in the "down" times. Once I was washing dishes and it was showing one of the housemates washing dishes and there we both were, not talking, just doing this everyday thing. It was really calming. Naturally, my boyfriend thought I needed a trip to the brain doctor. So now I can say Ha! I'm just embracing my inner Norwegian.
posted by billiebee at 1:02 PM on November 5, 2013


They should bring in NFL commentators for these shows. That would be pretty funny.
posted by ChuckRamone at 1:02 PM on November 5, 2013


Sunrise Earth is pretty great too, by the way.
posted by box at 1:10 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of German television where they broadcast the weather seen from various mountain tops.
posted by three blind mice at 1:19 PM on November 5, 2013


I can do meditation. Flashing lights, animal calls, birdsong, instrumental classical music, wind noises, pan flutes, videos of the tide going in and out, all good. But when someone starts talking that theta state is just shattered. Watching five hours of knitting (with commentary) sounds excruciating to me. It seems the human nervous system is a many varied and wondrous thing, with many different kinds of responses depending upon the individual.

I wonder if this sort of mindful TV watching can be trained in a large population, or if there's just something about Norwegians that makes them receptive to slow TV.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do the folks at the University of Queensland know about this? They could give the pitch drop watch international syndication.

when I saw theodolite's comment that The commentator did a remarkable job of continuing to say new things long past the point when you would normally think that everything about competitive knitting had already been said. I almost automatically replaced "The commentator" with "Vin Scully" and "kntting" with "baseball". (Well, he HAS been doing baseball play-by-play for 64 YEARS without running out of relevant things to say.) And for the USofA, Baseball has long been our closest thing to "Slow TV", which may, sadly, be why its popularity has been fading...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:05 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I, like apparently over a million others, was transfixed by the Men's Haircut and Shave ASMR video (linked from the same set as the woman with wooden boxes). Interestingly my cat was also fascinated. Normally she prefers the more feline slow TV of Film for Cats - but she is trying to win me round. We are considering a knitting holiday to the fjords where she could try dry herring.
posted by rongorongo at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


They should bring in NFL commentators for these shows. That would be pretty funny.

Any step that brings us closer to Gruden Talk is a step in the right direction.
posted by Copronymus at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2013


"Stay tuned for the Paint Drying Power Hour."

"And coming up after Snow Melts, Grass Grows."


"Tomorrow, on Thrilling Adventure Day, Rain Falls."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


my Big Brother addiction

Heh, I had much of the same experience. But even more unforgiveable since I was watching the American Big Brother. Seasons 1 - 5 I was horrifyingly addicted to the live feeds.
posted by mediocre at 5:01 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Convention has it that TV programme makers must battle frenetically to keep the viewer's attention lest their finger starts to wander to the channel change button (or, perish the thought: "off"). The way they do this is using pretty much the same rule book for storytelling drafted by the ancient Greeks (with perhaps a film-related addendum largely completed by 1970).

Yet I think people are often held spellbound by much slower and more diffuse narratives: How are those tomato plants I planted back in Spring doing today? Will that raindrop on the window manage to get all the way to the bottom before it dries up? How is that building site by the station doing today? These are often the sort of issues that can become more important to us just simply because they have been occupying our attention for quite a while. There might also be some different storytelling rules to consider here: a new tomato on the plant or the arrival of the drop at the windowsill are dramatic moments - because they have have had such a long build-up. But equally the sort of meditative observation that allows details to be gradually noticed is important: leaving lots of space allows room for the viewer to fill it with their own observations and thoughts. Finally - I may be noticing all these slow moving details out of the corner of my eye while I am occupied with something else.

In the past, this kind of slow narrative would not have been appropriate for TV: time and film was too precious to squander (although I do remember some very slow nature programs from a few decades ago). I think the Norwegians are really on to something here. Most especially television which is happy to relinquish its clamouring for our full attention - and which thereby gradually builds our fascination - seems like promising entertainment for our frenetic age.
posted by rongorongo at 4:06 AM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh...totally forgot there's an American counterpart.

Dish Network channel 287 shows a live video view of the earth from Echostar 11, parked in geosynchronous orbit.

The 'show' has been running nonstop since the launch of the satellite and should go for about 15 years or until the bird is de-orbited.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:39 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That reminds me, JoeZydeco, that NASA TV used to show hours of live video of the earth as the Shuttle zoomed around on its orbit. My roommate and I would attempt to plot the course on a giant wall map. (More difficult than you might expect -- features of land and sea were hard to discern through the cloud cover and the unfamiliar orientation -- "I think that's Sinai, but it's upside down and all cloudy.")

In fact, pretty much any NASA TV broadcast, including the spacewalks (maybe especially the spacewalks), was Slow TV.
posted by notyou at 8:02 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Viewers don't know what they're in for, how long the show will run, or if anything will actually happen. In that sense, it mimics life, and this is but one of the many profound thoughts you might have on your third day of watching a boat drifting. Releasing an audience from the apprehension that a shark will fly out of the water to eat the crew of the cruise ship (or that Mrs. Larsen will stab Mr. Kristiansen in the eye with a needle mid-purl) is soothing, but there's also a little bit of suspense: We're so used to watching a screen in expectation of a story that it seems impossible there isn't one.

For the same reason fish are highly entertaining. Fish! You don't know what they'll do next.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:32 AM on November 6, 2013


I would happily watch a week of paint drying on tv opposed to even a minute of these crappy "reality" shows around. The worst on my list is "Come Dine with me" the whole show concept is horrid.
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 3:59 PM on November 6, 2013


PBS' 'Over' is another one I like a lot. Recommended for the aerial-photography fans in the house.
posted by box at 6:31 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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