Visionary filmmaker Jason Silva shares insights from his “Innovation and Thinking Differently” lecture, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Cullen Performance Hall.
Silva is the host of “Brain Games” on the National Geographic Channel, and the creator of the “Shots of Awe” Youtube channel – an archive for pitches or commercials for philosophical and/or innovative concepts.
His videos hold an uncanny metaphysical appeal that evokes the deeper questions of life.
In this Q&A, Cooglife spoke with Silva about his life, work and love for film.
Cooglife: How much of your upbringing influenced much of your views and filmmaking today? How much of your old views/philosophies had to change/evolve to get to the views you have now?
Silva: “I’ve always loved cinema – content that pushes the envelope of subjectivity – taking us into new worlds of intersubjective experience. To know ideas, people, points of view beyond our own – I like it when cinema takes me out of my head – this what high art is all about.
I especially love films that fall into the “false-reality” genre, where we learn to question the realities we take for granted. This is what I’m interested in, and with ‘Shots of Awe,’ I’m simply bringing that sensibility and intention to short-form digital video. I love mashup style; I like to overwhelm. ‘Shots of Awe’ is all of that, and hopefully more.”
Cooglife: What is your personal method of finding inspiration?
Silva: “You need to ‘silence’ the inner critic and enter a flow state – this is where jazz musicians and elite athletes go when they achieve their best. You get out of your own way. Pattern recognition goes up, risk taking increases, you surprise yourself.
People can ‘get there’ in multiple ways: surfing, meditation, writing, yoga, marijuana and many other of what Mercia Eliade called ‘techniques of ecstasy.’”
Cooglife: Your ethereal “Shots of Awe” micro-documentaries are enthralling Youtube productions. How is each subject-video conceived? What are the challenges?
Silva: “‘Shots of Awe’ is an experiment in digital ‘trips’ for the thinking mind. I want to push the envelope of what you can do in short-form digital video – how can you use digital to turn big intellectual ideas in aesthetic experiences.
How can you induce cognitive ecstasy in people? That’s the goal.”
Cooglife: What is your personal favorite “Shots of Awe” project?
Silva: “All of them are close to my heart. Existential Bummer seems to be the fan favorite.”
Cooglife: Toward the future, which projects and ideas of yours are waiting to emerge?
Silva: “Who knows? This is an ongoing conversation I often have with my friends. I was inspired by Gaspar Noe’s new 3D film “LOVE” – a boundary-breaking meditation on sexual love brimming with explicit imagery I’ve never seen on cinema before.
Something to inspire all of us!”