September’s Man of the Month is:
Here’s a little bit about him:
I work with video and photography in an ever-changing variety of contexts. Lately this has included producing video content for the theatre stage (most recently Arts Club’s Avenue Q), documenting public art process and urban food production, and collaborations with several chefs. I’ve had photos published in Canadian House & Home, two German and one French archeological journals, and Scout Magazine. I had a seven year love affair with glassblowing, and the break-up broke my heart. I do however have a lovely pile of hot-sculpted bird skulls to show for it. I also had a run as Assistant Production Manager for Public Dreams Society years and years ago, which left an indelible (fantastical, wonder-filled) impression on my spirit.
I spent my first twelve years in Northern Ontario, and have been on the west coast ever since. Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast have shaped my being, and I thrive in the magic of these landscapes. Sometimes my heart aches for love of the land.
And here’s how he answered my 6 questions about creativity:
What does it mean to you to be creative?
My experience of creativity is essentially channeling; this feeling of resonance comes over me, and it all happens. For me, this creativity flows out of listening, and being present in myself. I’m fortunate to have a mother who told me at a young age that I was creative, and I think this may be why I’ve never experienced creative block; I live in a river of ideas. I think of being creative as our most basic state. So, for me, being creative comes out of being who I am.
Ice sculpted by Carl Schlichting, part of Kendra Fanconi's snow and ice theatre production. Photo by Michael Sider
Pre-literate thought is inherent to my creative process; by that I mean awareness and thought that isn’t in words, or only partly in words. Most of academic psychology is certain that there is no thought without language, but I scoff at their foolish reductionism. For me, most of the important parts float just outside of the words, on the tip of the tongue as it were.
I love the idea of the gestalt, or emergent properties, I often have the experience of suddenly grasping a whole that is so much more than its parts, a rationality that transcends and shows greater perspective. I’ll sit with a pile of footage, or words, or thoughts, and play with them and let them tumble through me until the presence emerges. It’s always there, waiting to emerge. The work knows what it wants.
Bjork said it well: “with a palmful of stars / I throw them like dice / repeatedly / on the table / repeatedly / repeatedly / until the desired constellation appears”
What triggers your creativity?
I’m not entirely sure, it’s a pool that I dip my hand into all day every day. It’s just there, bigger than me, all around me. It is easier when I have time and space to be present and listen.
I am often inspired by the creations of other people, music, film, writing.
What hinders your creativity?
Bird Skull, handblown and sculpted glass, Michael Sider. Photo by Mark Roberts
What’s the wildest journey your venturesome spirit has taken you on?
Exploring glassblowing was probably the wildest. The molten glass is unlike anything I’ve ever been close to, transformative on a tactile and energetic level, Watching a thick piece of glass shifting in itself changed some things for me. I’ll never forget the first time I really saw that, saw it with my whole being. Also, the combination of unearthly beauty and near-death adrenalin really does something to a person. And then there’s the experience of calling a presence out of the material, what amounts to invoking, a particularly charged event in the molten glass because of the pace and intensity of the material. Ah, good times.
What does being bold and provocative mean to you?
I think that the most bold and provocative thing that a person can do is to be authentic and present with other people, because that’s not usually the norm. It takes a lot of courage, and provokes people, sometimes toward authenticity themselves. I’m not always the most present with other people, but I do work at making a practice of being intentional and present with people when I feel led to. It seems like one of the most important things that can happen.
What’s next for you?
In the immediate sense, more public art process documentation and chef collaborations, which makes me ecstatic! A bit further on, I can’t see them clearly yet, but I can feel large fish lurking in the deep dark water of my psyche, rumors of future process, and I suspect they have something to do with outdoor projection installations.
And here’s a few things that inspires Michael’s creativity:
–I love this description of what it means to be intentionally creative in our current world, I find it quite moving… it’s an excerpt from a lecture by Charlie Kaufman, who co-wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: What I have to Offer, Charlie Kaufman
–Filmmaker Shane Carruth inspires me with his impossibly focused and fierce vision, and his refusal to compromise, here’s a trailer for his latest film, Upstream Color:Upstream Color – Theatrical Trailer and an interview with Shane Carruth, which I found fascinating:Sci-Fi Meets Love In Carruth’s ‘Upstream Color’
–I have so much love for this short film, full of heart and beauty and transcendent sadness, a collaboration between Flying Lotus and Kahlil Joseph, I must have watched it a hundred times:Flying Lotus – “Until The Quiet Comes”
Check out Michael’s website:www.michaelsider.com
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