Reading “I’ll Be With Myself” Model: Slow Art

Now one might wonder what looking at art actually has to do with self-care. To understand this, it is worth taking a closer look here as well. Several studies show that speeding and jumping between different stimuli leads to a state of constant stress. For example, neuropsychologists have repeatedly discovered that multitasking in front of a screen raises cortisol levels and thus stabilizes the chronic feeling of stress and alarm in us. All of these studies show that only when we take breaks for the mind to wander can we stay focused and relaxed. Slowing down in cognition is good for us, as well as giving up on multitasking.

If you sit quietly in front of a picture in a museum for 20 minutes, then this is not just an examination of the picture itself, the whole perception slows down and increases as a result. Studies in psychology also show that displaying art not only has a calming effect, but also promotes a profound experience of meaning or connection with the world. This effect occurs naturally only if, while visiting the museum, one does not focus primarily on finding the most important pictures in the collection, photographing oneself with the “Mona Lisa” or recording as much art as possible in the shortest possible time. This kind of pressure on sightseeing and educational is eliminated by the concept of lazy art. You learn to let yourself go.

In a research group at Harvard University, scientists tried to discover how we can direct our gaze at artworks in such a way that we can truly see and perceive something and a subjective examination of the works. The observation strategy developed there is called “Look, think, wonder” (eg: look, think, think more). This means: first to perceive what you see without any judgment, assimilate the landscape, the person, or the shapes and colors, only open the senses. Then, in the next step, you can start asking yourself questions and thinking about the picture: What are the cool parts? What do people do? What shapes do the shapes remind me of? In the third step, you can think about the surprises that amaze you in the picture, what question marks remain. So I looked at the picture or the statue from almost all angles. What is important in this strategy is to give the realization stage as much space as possible without evaluation. It leads to the fact that one detaches from one’s own assessments and thoughts and perceives the moment with one’s mind.

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When I read your lines, Verena, I thought that this way of looking at art not only relaxes you and changes your outlook, but also stimulates an inner dialogue with yourself that brings you closer to yourself again. And that’s exactly what these trips are about.

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