Friday, March 1, 2024
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Slowing the Pace


“Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes or figs need time to ripen. If you say that you want a fig now, I will tell you to be patient. First, you must allow the tree to flower, then put forth fruit; then you have to wait until the fruit is ripe. So if the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition, so quickly and easily?” -Epictetus

In the natural world, immediacy is rarely a concept. While it is true the Mayfly lives only for a day, it is also true that each fly is one infinitesimal link in the long succession of the species. As humans have increasingly stepped beyond the boundaries of nature, we have begun to forget the importance of waiting and patience. We live surrounded by cheap treasures gotten easily and quickly. But like the Mayfly, these spoils of instant gratification perish quickly leaving us desiring more. No longer do we answer to the rhythm of nature, preferring instead to force the world to step up to our breakneck pace. All the while we are saturated with reminders that “good things come to those who wait” but too often choose to ignore this time tested wisdom.

Stefan Klein works in Berlin. Presently he is examining the concept of waiting. To this end, he has conducted quite a lot of field research. Waiting, he says, “is something that’s so routinely existing in our daily lives but at the same time has this very existential dimension to it so that almost everybody can relate to it but at the same time it’s a very abstract topic.” Another project, titled Introduction to Microeconomics is a book documenting Klein’s repeated ordering and return of a book by the same name. In this way, he examined documentation as a vital element of a whole work. Much of Klein’s work investigates complex systems through performative means. In September, Klein will begin a series of waiting sessions with people from various disciplines. He will meet with guests at a bus stop (a place of waiting) for a conversation. His audience will be comprised of both those who came to see the performance and those who happened to be waiting for the bus. In this way, Klein will access waiting from many perspectives.

Emilie Clark is a New York City based artist who spends part of the year in New Hampshire. Much of her work is based on the work of nineteenth-century natural historians and scientists, most of them women. She also explores the literal interpretation of the word ecology (earth’s household) incorporating historical texts and working in the landscape. In New Hampshire, Clark works in a floating research station surrounded by the natural world. In New York City her experience is quite different though she has noticed similarities in plant species between the two locations. From her research station, Clark collects specimens, makes sound recordings, draws, paints, preserves, and fully immerses herself in nature. This process is rooted not only in creating but in learning.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

A work of art, a career, a relationship, anything worth investing our hearts and minds in, must be given time. We must relearn to wait, to fall back in step with the world around us.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. User Kevin Sweeney is presently reading Freedom: the End of the Human Condition by Jeremy Griffith and Emilie Clark has been reading Wild Fruits by Henry David Thoreau, a book taken from a manuscript discovered posthumously.

Opportunities / Open Calls

Travel to Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for the Adventure Filmmakers Workshop 2017. Participants will work with world class adventure filmmaking experts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The program is ideal for filmmakers, directors, and producers. Deadline is August 23.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.






  1. Patience is a virtue to be practiced and enjoyed. When we realize we don’t have the patience to observe our breathing without the interference of our minds jamming our attention with thoughts, we realize just who much atention patience requires. Unfortunately, patience is not something we are tought in this fast paced culture we live in, so it has to be cultivated when we are all ready adults and domesticated to ignore its virtues and values.

    • Yes Ricardo, that is so true, it would be wonderful if patience was taught, or even mediation practices which would benefit everyone, especially children, but we could all use more peace.


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