Wild Systems

Interview: Jason Silva, Media Artist and Curator of Awe-Inspiring Ideas

The next guest in our interview series is Jason Silva, Venezuelan-American filmmaker, futurist, and media artist. The TED Conference called him a performance philosopher for his poetic, impassioned and inspirational take on scientific and technological advancements, his riveting on-stage delivery style, and his hyper-enthusiastic insights on creativity, innovation, technology, philosophy and the human condition.

His non-commercial series of short videos, named  Shots of Philosophical Espresso, explore the co-evolution of humans and technology and have gone viral with over 1.2 million views. Many have called Silva an “Idea DJ” and a poet, describing him as a re-vitalizer and remixer of optimism, and above all, a curator: of ideas, of inspiration, and of awe.

Here it is an example of his activity: Technium, a video from his Shots of Awe YouTube channel.

We recently talked with Jason Silva about who and what we are as we face big changes, the future and his creative practice. Here’s what he had to say:

Hello Jason Silva, who are you and what are you doing?

I’m a media artist, filmmaker and wonderjunkie. I’m obsessed with hacking attention, experience design, immersive media and bottling inspiration. I’m an ideas lover and spent my time creating media projects that engage the bodymind in a profound and transformational way. I’m interested in exalted states of consciousness and in engineering encounters with the transcendent. I’m interested in forging a path that offers secular people pathways to something akin to the numinous.

My videos are a form of self-medication: antidotes to existential despair

With your our Cinematic Espresso Shots you give people free food for thought, why do you do what you do? Do you see yourself as an activist?

My videos are a form of self-medication: antidotes to existential despair. They are a way for me to wrestle with and explore my obsessions and sensibilities. I like to believe I trade in the currency of inspiration. These videos are a way for me to “instantiate” my consciousness, my dreams and my rhapsodies in a tangible form. As Gene Youngblood wrote in Expanded Cinema: “cinema reflects mankind’s historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind in front of his eyes”. It’s the same with my videos.

Which one of your works are you most proud of?

I’m in love with my video on Awe. It’s a really moving piece that connects with a lot of people. I also really love my recent video Existential Bummer, which was tweeted by filmmaker Ron Howard, who has since become a fan of my videos.

Many concepts and themes of your practice are related to Next Nature philosophy. What is Next Nature for you?

A redefinition of the natural world, a realization that there is no real separation between the born and the made. A realization that technology “emerges” and by many accounts “self organizes”. I like Kevin Kelly’s use of the term Technium; the 7th kingdom of life.

Technology emerges and by many accounts self organizes

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