TDW: Which socio-political topic is of most interest to you at the moment?
AI: Identity politics: I love digging two or three questions deep into a categoric or semi-categoric position. The distances are never as far as passion and political manipulation make them. I love to deconstruct the “them” everybody uses to identify the other side. We often ask or demand others change without really asking ourselves to change in any way. Right now political discourse is abusive and it fosters more abuse. The cycle needs to be broken.
TDW: What is your first memory of being creative?
AI: I was six years old and I had to perform a poem in front of the whole school and their families at the end of the school year. We were outside in a grassy amphitheatre. I made a mistake and instantly asked to start again. The audience erupted in laughter. I was shocked by the power of that reaction. The audience saw I was shocked and they laughed again. I started to cry. They laughed again. I took a deep breath to speak, the audience fell silent. Their instant silence froze me. They laughed again. Over the end of their laughter I spoke the poem. When I finished they applauded enthusiastically. I was surprised again and they laughed again. They lived every step of that poetry recital with me; we all had succeeded in being vulnerable together. Though I did not write the poem or even understand what had happened at the time, I feel like that moment was the start of something.
TDW: Which song do you know all the lyrics to?
AI: ''I Will'' by the Beatleshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ6bAHOvPH0
TDW: Books, series or music?
AI: All of them! Different forms create different windows, different angles for the light to find the tiny pieces of our true vulnerable selves. Having said that music has walked with me all of my life.
TDW: Your favourite app?
AI: A hug ;)
TDW: What superpower would you like to have?
AI: I would like to have the power to let people experience life as someone they deeply disagree with or are afraid of. Or the power to turn fear into laughter…Flying would be cool too.
TDW: What was the best trip you ever took?
AI: At 25, I woke up on an island in Greece realizing I had to catch a flight back to Montreal in 36 hours in Brussels. I had almost no money and I hit the road, or the ocean and got on a ferry. Bought cheap flight from Athens to Gatwick in England. I was broke and had to hitchhike to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais. Got a few rides and one man went out of his way to drive me right to Dover to the ferry. It’s long story but I missed the flight departure in Brussels, but I caught the connection in Amsterdam because the train went straight into the airport. The rest of that trip was an adventure I will never forget.
TDW: What can you cook perfectly?
AI: There is no perfection, only striving, endless fucking striving….so nothing, I cook nothing perfectly ok?
TDW: What is the most illegal thing you have done so far?
AI: Nice try…
TDW: What are you afraid of?
AI: Being invisible. Having no one to share with, to hear or see you.
TDW: What helps prevent (this) fear?
AI: Keeping others from becoming invisible. Listening to others share who they are at the edge of the construction site.
TDW: What can we learn from you?
AI: How to make spectacular mistakes and learn slowly from them over long, long periods of time.
TDW: What are you learning right now?
AI: I am working on empathy and assumptions. Even generous assumptions can be very patronizing and self-serving. I have a tendency to rush towards a conclusion to be able to propose a theory. My intellect wants to put forward a theory much to quickly, but sometimes that is the most honest process as long as I am willing to change my position as I learn something new.
TDW: Something your parents did very well:
AI: They were quite brutally honest.
TDW: Can you tell us who your favourite person is?
AI: As cheesy as this sounds, my wife, Annabel Soutar.
TDW: Can you tell us where your favourite place is?
AI: Discovering new places with my wife and two daughters.
TDW: How do you get from A to B in your city?
AI: Plug in car, motorcycle, public transit and bicycle.
TDW: Who do you admire?
TDW: What will be better in ten years?
AI: Everything! We get better at everything as long as stories circulate freely! Stories shape our imaginations, and our imaginations drag dreams into reality. If you want to change the world, tell a fucking amazing story. Real or fictional doesn’t matter as long as it lives at the edge of your current ability and understanding. I believe we need to recognize the power of narrative, because it is used to both inspire and defeat us these days. When I was born, I was born in a specific place and if I wanted to see the world I have to travel, find some books, speak to people who were from different places etc… but now kids are born into the whole world, through a bizarre portal called the internet. More than anything the internet is a narrative battle ground. It is new, violent and wild but in 10 years we will all understand it’s potential and dangers better, especially the younger generation.
TDW: The best development in recent years?
AI: The proliferation of stories! From news to fiction we live in an ever growing archive
TDW: What environmental issues are important to you?
AI: Closing the footprint loop. Repaying, what we borrow from the earth within our lifetime, and making that the norm.
TDW: What question would you like to ask us?
AI: Thank you for asking these provoking questions.
How do you define the role of art, and where is the best coffee in Düsseldorf?