Michael Snow


Michael Snow © Michael Torosian, 1988

Michael Snow (Canada) is an artist working in a range of media including film, installation, sculpture, photography, and music. He is considered one of the most influential experimental filmmakers of all time. His landmark film Wavelength was honoured with the Grand Prize at EXPRMNTL 4 in Knokke, Belgium (1967). Wavelength has been the subject of publications, retrospectives, and symposia worldwide since its release, was designated and preserved as a masterwork by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, and was named one of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century by the Village Voice (2001). Originally a professional jazz musician, Snow has performed solo and with other musicians in North America, Europe and Japan, often with the improvisational music ensemble CCMC. Together with Richard Serra, James Tenney and Bruce Nauman, he performed Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1969. His many awards include the Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres (1995), the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2000), and a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). In 2004, the Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne awarded him an honorary doctorate. Pablo Picasso was the last artist previously bestowed with this honour. Snow has completed more than 25 films since 1956. His films and artworks have been screened and exhibited at nearly every major museum and festival internationally. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. 


ONLINE SCREENING DATES: December 2 – December 23, 2020

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: WVLNT (Wavelength for Those Who Don’t Have the Time), 15 min, 2003; Puccini Conservato, 10 min, 2008 Curated by Oona Mosna

WVLNT (Wavelength for Those Who Don’t Have the Time), 15 min, 2003

WAVELENGTH For Those Who Don't Have the Time: Originally 45 minutes, now 15! Michael Snow's film Wavelength has been acclaimed as a classic of Avant Garde filmmaking since its appearance in 1967. In February 2003, Snow created a new work consisting of simultaneities rather than the sequential progressions of the original work. WVLNT is composed of three unaltered superimpositions of sound and picture.

Puccini Conservato, 10 min, 2008

Puccini Conservato was commissioned by the Lucca Film Festival for the 150th anniversary of the famous Italian composer’s birth. In this delightful video, the Canadian master offers a witty visual and sonic commentary to Puccini’s La Bohème.

I’m not scientific. No “ends” no “goals” no use. “This vague yearning to codify” is being reacted to only in the action of noticing “how one thing leads to another,” I do not have a system, I am a system. There won’t be any summing up. Perhaps there will. These observations are in my own life with my work. – Michael Snow

Any given work by Michael Snow implies an acutely framed question of some kind: about its own properties, about the way different technologies affect what we perceive, about the conventions and expectations that influence our responses, about the nature of seeing in relation to the other senses and bodily movement, and about the nature of our existence and operations in the world altogether. His work often has a deftly equivocal aspect: it may seem lyrical, scientific, sensuous, coolly rigorous, and humorous, or all of these at once. – Elizabeth Legge

Visit Digital Snow > an “anarchive” or encyclopedia of the artist’s work, co-produced and available through the Daniel Langlois Foundation (2002). Link here.

Screening co-presented with the Canadian Filmmaker’s Distribution Centre. Curated by Oona Mosna.