Lifestyle & Belief

Norway's new TV sensation is like watching paint dry

There's a lot of talk about mindfulness these days, about the need to slow down and unplug in order to savor the world around us.

Well, Norwegian TV has found a way to let us do that while leaving everything plugged in.

It's called "Slow TV" and it consists of live coverage of an ordinary event in its entirety — events like a 134-hour boat cruise, 12 hours of firewood burning or 18 hours of salmon fishing — all of which have been aired on Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2.

The first one that took was a live broadcast of a seven-hour train trip from Oslo to Bergen in 2009, which attracted an audience of one million — or 20 percent of Norway’s population.

After that, more than half the country watched a 134-hour coastal cruise through the fjords and in November 2013, 1.3 million people tuned in to witness eight-and-a-half hours of knitting.

"You would think it's boring television, but we have quite good ratings for these programs, so obviously there's an audience for it," Kristian Elster, a journalist with NRK's international affairs department, told The Local, a Norwegian news outlet.

Think of it as the TV equivalent of listening to the sound of the ocean on a CD. It's soothing. 

Actually, Andy Warhol can take credit for birthing this bizarre trend with his 1963 "anti-film" called "Sleep." Warhol filmed his friend John Giorno sleeping for five hours and 20 minutes:

And then of course there's the yule log burning, which has become a Christmas tradition in certain "fireplaces."