October 20, 2020

Slow TV: what the hell is this program and why can not I stop watching it? | TV

Slow TV: what the hell is this program and why can not I stop watching it? | TV

On January 1 a very strange thing happened on the regional television of Aragon. At 21.24, in access prime time, the most competitive and coveted band, programmed a documentary production of its own entitled Trip, which consisted of continuing for four hours the route of the Canfranero, the train that hobbles from Zaragoza to the old station of Canfranc, entering the Pyrenees by a tortuous path, without electrifying and spoiled. Without locution, without assembly, without music, without narrative resources. The fixed plane of a camera anchored in the front of the train that gave the vision of the machinist. So sleepy, exasperating and endless as the real trip.

The reactions in the networks went from bewilderment and cajondeo to intrigue and confession that many had surrendered to the hypnotic-and narcotic-power of the tracks. What the hell was that? Contemporary art? An experiment in social control? Trip It was trending topic on Twitter and obtained a share of 6.9%, higher than the one that La Sexta y Cuatro achieved in Aragón, and much higher than the one expected by the chain's management, which sold its proposal as an example of slow TV and alluded to a 2009 precedent on Norwegian public television, which issued seven hours of train travel from Bergen to Honefoss.

I do not think that in the rest of Spain the rebellion of a small TV in a corner where few people live, but it is admirable that way to throw yourself into the pool without water and to transgress all the cathodic commercial commandments, which condemn as grave sins the fixed and long shots without words. In a strident TV suffering from horror vacui, the only way to get attention is radical minimalism. Imagination and elegance are resources of the poor, and if the autonomies want to stop being the palanganeros of the caciques of each belfry and rediscover a discourse and a raison d'être, they will have to throw silence and bewilderment.


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