“Performance Philosopher” Jason Silva Introduces Mind-Altering New Video Series, “Shots of Awe”

Remem­ber that 1996 doc­u­men­tary The Cruise, chron­i­cle of New City Tour guide Tim­o­thy “Speed” Lev­itch, who com­pressed ency­clo­pe­dias full of ref­er­ences into a man­ic spit­fire style? Well, “per­for­mance philoso­pher” Jason Silva’s mono­logues are a bit like Levitch’s, with a lot less Woody Allen and a lot more of Richard Linklater’s ani­mat­ed head­trip Wak­ing Life.

Silva’s got a new web­series out called “Shots of Awe,” which he describes as “freestyle phi­los­o­phy videos [that] cel­e­brate exis­ten­tial jazz, big ques­tions, tech­nol­o­gy and sci­ence.” These short videos are indeed “shots,” with each one com­ing in at under three min­utes. The short above, “Awe,” defines the term as “an expe­ri­ence of such per­pet­u­al vast­ness you lit­er­al­ly have to recon­fig­ure your men­tal mod­els of the world to assim­i­late it.”

While the Eng­lish prof. in me winces at the use of “lit­er­al­ly” here (“men­tal mod­el” is a metaphor, after all), the video’s machine-gun edit­ing and Silva’s “con­trast between banal­i­ty and won­der” have me con­vinced he’s onto some­thing. Check out the series’ trail­er here and see two addi­tion­al episodes, “Sin­gu­lar­i­ty” (below) and “Mor­tal­i­ty.” The series is host­ed on Discovery’s Test­Tube net­work and fol­lows up Silva’s Espres­so video series.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jason Sil­va Preach­es the Gospel of “Rad­i­cal Open­ness” in Espres­so-Fueled Video (at TED­G­lob­al 2012)

Enthu­si­as­tic Futur­ist Jason Sil­va Wax­es The­o­ret­i­cal About the Immer­sive Pow­er of Cin­e­ma

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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