Slow Art in the Creative City: Amsterdam, Street Photography, and Urban Renewal

Christoph Lindner and Miriam Meissner in Space and Culture 18.1 (2015): 4-24.

Slow art Figure 6

Global cities have been studied predominantly in terms of speed and movement, acceleration and circulation. This article examines the relationship between globalization and cities in terms that run counter to such emphases, focusing instead on slowness as a condition in contemporary urban life. Drawing on Jamie Peck’s critique of the creativity syndrome in urban policy, we analyze a series of street photography projects in the city of Amsterdam in order to examine the role of “slow art” in neoliberal urbanization and city profiling. In its capacity to interrupt movement and redirect visual attention, slow art resists both the acceleration of everyday life and the rapid transformation of social space in the global city. Yet, exploited by urban creativity policies, slow art can simultaneously contribute to the gentrification and commodification of cities. We argue that slowness and creativity are deeply implicated in contemporary reshapings of urban social space and that their interrelations merit closer study.

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