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At a Distance
A podcast about the bigger picture. The Slowdown's co-founders, Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman, call leading minds to get a whole-earth, long-view perspective.
3 days ago
Annelise Riles on the Pandemic as a Window of Opportunity
Anthropologist and legal scholar Annelise Riles, the executive director of Northwestern University’s Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, discusses America’s shifting relationship with China amid Covid-19, rethinking how knowledge is made, and how language can be both a barrier to and a means for human connection.
5 days ago
Peter Laufer on Fostering the Slow News Movement
Journalist, author, and broadcaster Peter Laufer, the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, speaks with us about the Portland protests, President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, and why we need more opportunities for listening and conversation across political divides.
Jul 30, 2020
Amanda Ravenhill on R. Buckminster Fuller’s Lasting Relevance
Buckminster Fuller Institute executive director Amanda Ravenhill talks with us about the importance of multidisciplinary thinking, the power of the individual in today’s globalized society, and the need for a deeper appreciation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Jul 29, 2020
Ariel Garten on Harnessing Technology to Help Humanity
Neuroscience-trained psychotherapist Ariel Garten, co-founder of the brain-sensing headband Muse, discusses understanding and identifying helpful and hurtful technologies, ways of addressing our mental health during the pandemic, and various approaches to getting into a healing mindset.
Jul 27, 2020
Emily Anthes on Why Indoor Environments Are More Important Than Ever
Science journalist Emily Anthes, author of the new book “The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness,” speaks with us about the paradox of indoor spaces during a pandemic, the rich microbial worlds inside our homes, designing interiors with inclusivity in mind, and what makes for resilient architecture.
Jul 23, 2020
André Hueston Mack on Being a Steward of a Neighborhood and the Earth
Sommelier, winemaker, and entrepreneur André Hueston Mack, owner of Maison Noir Wines and the Brooklyn “ham bar” and grocery & Sons, talks with us about producing wine in the face of global warming and climate change, his love of American country hams, Covid-19’s shock to the restaurant industry, and the connection between diversity and empathy.
Jul 22, 2020
Gonzalo Casals on the 2020 Reckoning With Racial Injustice
New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals discusses his difficult recovery from a Covid-19 infection; the impact of the pandemic on his neighborhood in Jackson Heights, Queens, as well as on the city’s arts and culture organizations; and today’s long-overdue shifts and necessary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Jul 20, 2020
Azeem Azhar on the Collision Course of Tech, Politics, and the Climate Crisis
Entrepreneur, analyst, strategist, and investor Azeem Azhar, creator of the Exponential View newsletter and podcast, speaks with us about Covid-19’s impact on surveillance, the role of the smartphone in contemporary society, and the emergence of “climate tech” companies.
Jul 16, 2020
Toni Blackman on Hip-Hop Meditation and Music as Medicine
Activist, artist, M.C., and music educator Toni Blackman talks with us about establishing a breathwork practice, the links between spirituality and hip-hop, and the healing power of music to shift our hearts and minds.
Jul 15, 2020
Cennydd Bowles on Designing a More Inclusive Future
Futurist, designer, and ethicist Cennydd Bowles discusses why design often creates as many problems as it solves, the failures of “design thinking,” and the importance of bringing a longer-term perspective to addressing systemic changes.
Jul 13, 2020
David Zilber on Fermentation as a Commitment to Your Future
Chef David Zilber, the former head of the fermentation lab at Noma, speaks with us about the symbiosis between microbes and mankind, science as a tool for thinking about food from new perspectives, and his hopes for shaking up our complex, deeply broken global food systems.
Jul 9, 2020
Mitchell Joachim on What Civilization 2.0 Looks Like
Architect and urban designer Mitchell Joachim, co-founder of the firm Terreform One and co-author of the new book “Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities,” talks with us about the idea of utopia, the future of capitalism, and why, coming out of Covid-19, we’re going to start thinking again of ourselves as citizens instead of consumers.
Jul 8, 2020
Margaret Klein Salamon on the Dire Realities of the Climate Emergency
Margaret Klein Salamon, the founding director of the advocacy organization The Climate Mobilization and author of the new book “Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth,” discusses the psychological impacts of the climate crisis, the need for a collective awakening, and why we need to be explicit about the policies we advocate for to prevent the collapse of civilization.
Jul 6, 2020
Jeremy Lent on Covid-19 as a Dress Rehearsal for Bigger Breakdowns
Jeremy Lent, the founder of the Liology Institute and author of “The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning,” speaks with us about how corporations have become the “ruling force” in our world today, the vast impact of the internet on mankind, and why we need to broaden our thinking about the long-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jul 2, 2020
Rob Dunn on the Wonders of the Microbial World Around Us
Biologist Rob Dunn, an applied ecology professor at North Carolina State University and the author of several books, including “Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live,” talks with us about his studies into sourdough starters, the impact of fast food and industrial farming on our gut’s “garden,” and the transformative nature of embracing global networks and communication.
Jul 1, 2020
Matthew E. Kahn on Remaining Optimistic About Capitalism
Economist Matthew E. Kahn, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University and the director of the university’s 21st Century Cities Initiative, discusses the idea of the American Dream, his support for a per-ton carbon tax, and why, because of the climate crisis, he doesn’t believe in homeownership.
Jun 29, 2020
Jennifer Rauch on Why We Need a Slower, Healthier Media Ecosystem
Jennifer Rauch, the author of the book “Slow Media: Why Slow is Satisfying, Sustainable, and Smart,” speaks with us about the benefits of occasionally unplugging from technology and abstaining from the news, the effects of Covid-19 on media consumption, and the joy of boredom.
Jun 25, 2020
Daphne Javitch on the Cumulative Health Benefits of Daily Routines
Integrative nutritionist Daphne Javitch, the founder of Doing Well, talks with us about personal and community health as a marathon, why trying to think positively isn’t necessarily a pragmatic wellness solution, and the importance of monitoring your media diet.
Jun 24, 2020
Michel Rojkind on Approaching Life as a Practice
Architect Michel Rojkind discusses designing against fear, why our nature as humans is interconnection, the benefits of moving away from a competitive mindset, and finding balance through running and drumming.
Jun 22, 2020
Merlin Sheldrake on How Fungi Expand Our Perspectives of the World
Biologist Merlin Sheldrake, author of the new book “Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures,” speaks with us about fungal networks, lifeforms as ecosystems, and the transformative power of LSD to shift how we think.
Jun 18, 2020
James Harding on Today’s Fractured Media Landscape
Tortoise Media co-founder and former BBC News director James Harding talks with us about journalism as a public conversation, the parallels between Slow News and Slow Food, and the opportunities to be found through a slower, more contextual approach to media making.
Jun 17, 2020
Shirazeh Houshiary on Understanding Life By Confronting Death
London-based Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary discusses her deep appreciation of the natural world, the power of embracing uncertainty, transcending the “duality of existence” through multidisciplinary learning, and training ourselves toward long-view thinking.
Jun 15, 2020
Laila Gohar on Society Moving From Apathy to Empathy
Food artist Laila Gohar speaks with us about togetherness in a time of crisis; food as a medium for comfort, healing, and pleasure; how a culture of convenience has dumbed down our senses; and why living a responsible life means not throwing out any food.
Jun 11, 2020
Dr. Alejandro Junger on Changing the World Through Your Diet
Dr. Alejandro Junger, the founder of the Clean Program, talks with us about impacting tomorrow’s pandemics by addressing chronic diseases today, taking an open-minded approach to medicine, and why not everybody necessarily needs to do a cleanse.
Jun 10, 2020
Gina Rae La Cerva on Wild Food in the Age of Industrial Agriculture
Anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva, author of the new book “Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food,” discusses why wild food has come to be considered a luxury, and the pressing need to build better, more resilient ecological and agricultural systems.
Jun 8, 2020
Asha Rangappa on Finding Reassurance in the Protests
Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa, a senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, discusses the ways in which social media platforms are being weaponized and how the Trump administration has botched the handling of both Covid-19 and George Floyd’s killing.
Jun 4, 2020
Deana Haggag on Art as a Tool for Creating Awareness and Change
United States Artists president and CEO Deana Haggag speaks with us about the “many viruses” of the current White House leadership, why art is essential for unpacking and exploring the complexity of our current moment, and her hopes for a reoriented political system.
Jun 3, 2020
Shantell Martin on Getting to the Core of Who You Are
Artist Shantell Martin talks with us about the racial and economic inequality of Covid-19, the virus of racism, the power of reflection, and the importance of fighting against institutional memory loss.
Jun 1, 2020
Tristan Harris on How Big Tech Is Distorting Our World
Tristan Harris, president and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and co-host of the Your Undivided Attention podcast, discusses the speed blindness caused by our technology systems and how Silicon Valley could effectively engage in climate action.
May 28, 2020
Susan Magsamen on the Intersection of Brain Sciences and the Arts
Susan Magsamen, the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, speaks with us about neuroaesthetics, the importance of self-expression, and the need for a from-the-ground-up “generative model” in policy and politics.
May 27, 2020
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley on the Past, Present, and Future of Quarantine
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, the husband-and-wife author duo of the forthcoming book “The Coming Quarantine,” talk about quarantine’s historical origins, political abuses of power during shelter-in-place orders, and designing “pandemic-friendly” cities.
May 25, 2020
Eric Maskin on the Quandary of Reopening
Economist, Nobel laureate, and Harvard University professor Eric Maskin discusses the supply-chain challenges in restarting the economy, the issues he foresees with the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and why he thinks America will remain a center for global innovation.
May 21, 2020
Dr. David Katz on Understanding Covid-19 in a Big-Picture Context
Dr. David Katz, the CEO of the start-up Diet ID and the former director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, speaks with us about the importance of acknowledging doubt and analyzing Covid-19 through science, sense, and consensus.
May 20, 2020
Nina Jablonski on How Narratives Drive the Future of the Planet
Anthropologist and paleobiologist Nina Jablonski talks about how “this little piece of RNA with a punk haircut” is causing us to reflect on our relationship with nature and technology, and why future discourse needs to be structured around a classic liberal-arts education.
May 18, 2020
Molly Jong-Fast on the Bewildering U.S. Election-Year Political Landscape
Molly Jong-Fast, editor-at-large of The Daily Beast and co-host of the podcast The New Abnormal, discusses the White House’s response to Covid-19, what’s ailing both the left and right in American politics right now, and her hopes for the November 2020 election.
May 14, 2020
Sarah Williams Goldhagen on Building Better, Healthier Environments
Sarah Williams Goldhagen, author of the book “Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives,” speaks with us about how the pandemic may lead to a greater localization of place and the profound psychological and emotional effects of the built world.
May 13, 2020
Christian Madsbjerg on the Pandemic as a Social Catastrophe
Christian Madsbjerg, a professor at The New School and co-founder of the consultancy Red Associates, talks about conducting better high-stakes decision making under stress and why we need to overhaul how knowledge is created and organized.
May 12, 2020
Randy Komisar on Why Innovation Is Dying and Capital Thriving in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, discusses the pressing need for social-justice innovations, the unregulated imbalance between capital and labor, and the monopolization of data by the big tech companies.
May 11, 2020
Paola Antonelli on Planning a Better Legacy for Humanity
Paola Antonelli, the senior curator in the department of architecture and design of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, speaks with us about design’s vital role in the midst of emergency, and how, by simply showing more respect, we will be remembered in a better way.
May 8, 2020
Gillian Tett on the Risk of Pandemics as an Incredible Blind Spot
Financial Times editor-at-large Gillian Tett talks about the urgent need to question how we construct our societies, interact with technology, and the true meaning of globalization, and why the pandemic may lead to wiser, humber, more open ways of being.
May 7, 2020
Markus Gabriel on the Coronavirus as an Immune Reaction of the Planet
Philosopher Markus Gabriel, director of the International Centre for Philosophy at the University of Bonn in Germany, discusses why he views humans as a dangerous plague and the turmoil around truth in the 21st century.
May 5, 2020
Rob Johnson on the Covid-19 Pandemic as a Necessary Awakening
Economist Rob Johnson, the executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, speaks with us about the massive wealth disparity that’s fracturing America, blind spots in our political and economic systems, and finding a way out of this “extreme disrepair.”
May 4, 2020
Rosanne Somerson on Cultivating “Perceptive Voices” of the Future
Rhode Island School of Design president Rosanne Somerson talks about the challenges she’s facing as a leader in higher education amidst the novel coronavirus, why territorial thinking has to stop, and the need to look at the Covid-19 pandemic as a “call-to-action moment.”
Apr 30, 2020
Paul Holdengräber on the Transformative Nature of Asking Good Questions
Paul Holdengräber, the host of the podcast The Quarantine Tapes and the founding executive director of the Onassis Foundation L.A., discusses his hope for humanity to return to a kinder way of being and why the Covid-19 pandemic is a “very philosophical moment.”
Apr 29, 2020
Waris Ahluwalia on Why We Shouldn’t Want to Return to “Normal”
Entrepreneur, designer, and actor Waris Ahluwalia, the founder of House of Waris Botanicals, speaks with us about how cultural and societal obsessions with productivity are destroying the planet and why our relationship to nature is broken.
Apr 28, 2020
Tatiana Schlossberg on the Urgent Need to Consume More Consciously
Environmental journalist Tatiana Schlossberg, author of “Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have,” talks about what Covid-19 and the climate crisis have in common and the far-reaching impacts that our personal actions can have on the Earth.
Apr 27, 2020
Nikil Saval on Coming to Terms With Our Failures as a Society
Writer, editor, activist, and politician Nikil Saval, who’s currently running as a Democrat for Pennsylvania State Senate, discusses the urgent need to build a society that cares for itself and the deeply entrenched problems he sees with healthcare, housing, and prisons in the U.S.
Apr 24, 2020
Eddie Stern on Our Bodies as an Extension of the World
Ashtanga yoga teacher Eddie Stern, author of the book “One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life,” speaks with us about the nature of self, the need to balance positivity with realism, and how we’re all “appendages of the Earth.”
Apr 23, 2020
Sam Seder on Finding a “Whole Society” Consensus
Sam Seder, host of the daily political talk show The Majority Report, talks with us about how the Covid-19 pandemic is creating an opportunity for building a more durable society and his hope that we’ll see a greater cultural and social awareness around our interconnectedness.
Apr 21, 2020
Anicka Yi on How Everything Is Interconnected
Artist Anicka Yi talks about our overall lack of knowledge about viruses, the vital role of art right now, the human relationship to nature and biology, and why she hopes Covid-19 may lead us all to “take a step back from our human-centric ways.”
Apr 20, 2020
Michael Murphy on Designing a Healthier Built Environment
Michael Murphy, the founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, discusses the links between architecture, design, and public health; how Slow Food has helped pave the way for a “Slow Space” movement; and his tactful approach to memorial making.
Apr 17, 2020
Donatien Grau on Why Taking Time Matters
Donatien Grau, the head of contemporary programs at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, speaks with us about the role of a museum in a time of quarantine, the transportive quality of art, and what we can all learn from the late couturier Azzedine Alaïa about the importance of taking time.
Apr 16, 2020
Maxine Bédat on the True Costs of Clothing
Maxine Bédat, founder and director of the New Standard Institute, talks about the impact of Covid-19 on how we think about fashion and sustainability, the need to no longer consider ourselves “consumers,” and why building a better world can begin in our closets.
Apr 15, 2020
Jeff Gordinier on Food as a Tool to Slow Down
Jeff Gordinier, the food and drinks editor at Esquire magazine, discusses the cataclysmic shake-up of the restaurant industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the spiritual nature of foraging for, growing, fermenting, and cooking your own food.
Apr 14, 2020
Alexander Rose on the Power of Long-Term Thinking
Long Now Foundation executive director Alexander Rose speaks with us about storytelling as an act of memory-making, his view on the Anthropocene, and how we should and could better prepare for the next global crisis after Covid-19.
Apr 13, 2020
Tobias Rees on Rethinking the Future of Education
Tobias Rees, the Reid Hoffman Professor at the New School for Social Research and a director of the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute, talks about the importance of bridging philosophy and art with engineering and science to better understand ourselves and our world.
Apr 10, 2020
Thomas Ermacora on Building a More Resilient Planet
The futurist, technologist, and urbanist Thomas Ermacora discusses the importance of shifting our habits toward nature, why Silicon Valley has an opportunity right now to prove it can actually leverage digital tools for good, and the worldwide need for greater civil disobedience.
Apr 9, 2020
Carolyn Steel on How Food Shapes Our World
Food urbanist and architect Carolyn Steel, author of the book “Sitopia: How to Live Well on a Hungry Planet,” talks about how Covid-19 is going to forever alter our planet, why food shouldn’t be cheap, and what’s required for a “good society.”
Apr 8, 2020
Virginia Heffernan on Donald Trump and “Tiger King” in the Time of Covid-19
Journalist and Trumpcast co-host Virginia Heffernan speaks with us about the perils of President Trump’s response to Covid-19, why she views Fox News as “a snuff-and-porn channel passing as news,” and her fascination with microbiology.
Apr 7, 2020
Chris Canavan on Why an Economic Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing
Economist Chris Canavan discusses the challenges of rebuilding the economy after the pandemic, why he believes the golden age of the humanities is before us, and the need for us all to think more about our relationship to time.
Apr 6, 2020
Simon Critchley on Looking at the Contemporary World Through the Lens of Punk, Greek Tragedy, and Humor
Philosopher and New School professor Simon Critchley talks about the ways in which the Covid-19 virus may be rewiring our very being, the need to better understand our anxiety, and how the pandemic is revealing how much we don’t know.
Apr 3, 2020
Bessel van der Kolk on Coping with Trauma Amidst Disaster
Post-traumatic stress expert Bessel van der Kolk, author of “The Body Keeps the Score,” discusses the essential need to befriend your body in this time of quarantine, why social deprivation is “the worst form of punishment,” and the importance of staying connected with others.
Apr 2, 2020
Bill McKibben on Covid-19’s Impact and the Climate Crisis
Environmentalist, author, and journalist Bill McKibben explores the economic shock of Covid-19, the links between the climate crisis and the current pandemic, and how biology and physics can’t be negotiated with.
Mar 24, 2020
Introducing: The Slowdown’s At a Distance Podcast
Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman, The Slowdown's co-founders and this podcast’s hosts, discuss the Covid-19 crisis and how it led to the creation of this new series, which features long-view conversations with philosophers, psychologists, writers, artists, and other leading minds.