Biography

Michael Snow is considered one of Canada's most important living artists, and one of the world's leading experimental filmmakers. His wide-ranging and multidisciplinary oeuvre explores the possibilities inherent in different mediums and genres, and encompasses film and video, painting, sculpture, photography, writing, and music. Snow's practice comprises a thorough investigation into the nature of perception.

While Snow early established himself as a successful painter and musician in his native Toronto, it was his 1962 move to New York City that marked the beginning of his rise to international prominence. He entered into a long-lasting and fruitful dialogue with downtown Manhattan's artistic avant garde, exchanging ideas with figures such as Yvonne Rainer, Philip Glass, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Foreman, and developing of some of his most ambitious and influential works to date. His 1964 film New York Eye and Ear Control documents his growing involvement with the burgeoning free jazz movement, and the soundtrack boasts a lineup that includes Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, and Sonny Murray. Snow would continue to pursue improvised music, both on his own and in ensembles such as Toronto's CCMC. The generation and reception of sound in the broader sense emerged as one of his main concerns, reflected in performance and tape works that share qualities with contemporaneous experiments by composers like Steve Reich.

At the same time, Snow made alliances within the underground film scene centered around Jonas Mekas' Filmmakers' Cinematheque, an experience that encouraged him to find ways to transfer his concerns with music and photography into the realm of the moving image. He assisted Hollis Frampton on films such as Nostalgia(1971), and it was legendary director Ken Jacobs whose loan of equipment helped Snow create his most famous and influential work, the groundbreaking 1967 film Wavelength. Wavelength, which notoriously includes a 45-minute camera zoom within a fixed frame, remains one of the most studied and admired works of structuralist filmmaking. Other of Snow's films of this period, including Back and Forth (1969) and La Région Centrale (1971) similarly explored the mechanics of filmmaking to simultaneously investigate the functional processes of cinema and of thinking itself.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Snow, responding to a growing institutional commitment to his work, experimented more with large-scale installations, including public sculptures such as Flightstop (1979) and The Audience (1988-89). In recent years, he has focused on the specific nature and potential of digital media, yielding works like the video-film *Corpus Callosum (2002). Regardless of artistic genre, Snow consistently engages in an analytical discourse on the nature of consciousness and experience, language and temporality.

Michael Snow is considered one of Canada's most important living artists, and one of the world's leading experimental filmmakers. His wide-ranging and multidisciplinary oeuvre explores the possibilities inherent in different mediums and genres, and encompasses film and video, painting, sculpture, photography, writing, and music. Snow's practice comprises a thorough investigation into the nature of perception.

While Snow early established himself as a successful painter and musician in his native Toronto, it was his 1962 move to New York City that marked the beginning of his rise to international prominence. He entered into a long-lasting and fruitful dialogue with downtown Manhattan's artistic avant garde, exchanging ideas with figures such as Yvonne Rainer, Philip Glass, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Foreman, and developing of some of his most ambitious and influential works to date. His 1964 film New York Eye and Ear Control documents his growing involvement with the burgeoning free jazz movement, and the soundtrack boasts a lineup that includes Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, and Sonny Murray. Snow would continue to pursue improvised music, both on his own and in ensembles such as Toronto's CCMC. The generation and reception of sound in the broader sense emerged as one of his main concerns, reflected in performance and tape works that share qualities with contemporaneous experiments by composers like Steve Reich.

At the same time, Snow made alliances within the underground film scene centered around Jonas Mekas' Filmmakers' Cinematheque, an experience that encouraged him to find ways to transfer his concerns with music and photography into the realm of the moving image. He assisted Hollis Frampton on films such as Nostalgia(1971), and it was legendary director Ken Jacobs whose loan of equipment helped Snow create his most famous and influential work, the groundbreaking 1967 film Wavelength. Wavelength, which notoriously includes a 45-minute camera zoom within a fixed frame, remains one of the most studied and admired works of structuralist filmmaking. Other of Snow's films of this period, including Back and Forth (1969) and La Région Centrale (1971) similarly explored the mechanics of filmmaking to simultaneously investigate the functional processes of cinema and of thinking itself.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Snow, responding to a growing institutional commitment to his work, experimented more with large-scale installations, including public sculptures such as Flightstop (1979) and The Audience (1988-89). In recent years, he has focused on the specific nature and potential of digital media, yielding works like the video-film *Corpus Callosum (2002). Regardless of artistic genre, Snow consistently engages in an analytical discourse on the nature of consciousness and experience, language and temporality.

Personal Info

Known For Directing

Gender Male

Known Credits 43

Birthday 1929-12-10

Place of Birth Toronto, Canada

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2019 Cityscape Director
2019 Waivelength Director
2009 Puccini Conservato Director
2006 Reverberlin Director
2005 Sshtoorrty Director
2004 Triage Director
2003 WVLNT Director
2002 *Corpus Callosum Director
2002 Solar Breath Director
2000 Prelude Director
2000 The Living Room Director
1991 To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror Director
1990 Seated Figures Director
1990 See You Later Director
1983 So Is This Director
1981 Presents Director
1976 Breakfast (Table-Top Dolly) Director
1974 ‘Rameau’s Nephew’ by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen Director
1974 Two Sides to Every Story Director
1971 La Région Centrale Director
1970 Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film Director
1970 A Casing Shelved Director
1969 One Second in Montreal Director
1969 Dripping Water Director
1969 Back and Forth Director
1967 Standard Time Director
1967 For Life, Against the War Director
1967 Wavelength Director
1965 Short Shave Director
1964 New York Eye and Ear Control Director
1956 A to Z Director

Acting

2016 Portrait of Snow as Himself
2013 Snow In Vienna as Himself - Composer
2012 Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film as Himself
1997 Birth of a Nation as Himself
1987 I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art
1978 Cinématon as himself
1978 Grand Opera: An Historical Romance as Wilma Schoen
1974 ‘Rameau’s Nephew’ by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen
1971 (nostalgia) as Narrator
1968 A Lecture as Narrator
1967 Bill's Hat
1966 Manual of Arms
1965 Short Shave

Writing

2005 Sshtoorrty Writer
2002 *Corpus Callosum Writer
1983 So Is This Writer
1967 Wavelength Writer

Production

1971 La Région Centrale Producer
1967 Wavelength Producer

Art

2002 *Corpus Callosum Production Design

Crew

1985 Lamentations: A Monument for the Dead World Thanks

Editing

1967 Wavelength Editor

Camera

1967 Wavelength Director of Photography

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