Anything you’ve heard about Jordan Knecht is probably true.
The following is excerpted from an interview conducted by Jordan Knecht and himself, inspired by questions asked of him by Susan Froyd.
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Jordan Knecht: I like your question, but I don’t particularly relate to the notion of a “muse.” Instead, I’m going to answer as though you asked me, “How do you prefer to work, and what are you reading lately?”
I prefer to work within systems. I flourish within constraints. A blank canvas makes me freeze up, but if you tie one of my hands behind my back, I’ll work inexhaustibly. If I’m in between projects, I make rules for myself to keep myself working. I really love solving for “x,” exploring quandaries and creating if-then statements. I just need a starting place in order to begin constructing a web of tangential connections. It’s a great joy to use a topic or a constraint to learn more about the world. Does that mean the world is my muse? Sure. The world is my muse. I’ll go with that.
Lately, I’ve been alternating between reading two books: Susan Sontag’s published journals from 1964 to 1980 and a compilation of interviews conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Both are endlessly inspiring. I deeply relate to the way that Sontag delves into topics within her journals. The Obrist book is full of many of the wildest and deepest thinkers of the past hundred years. Thanks for asking.
What led you down the path of noise/multimedia?
In 2017, I was approached about doing a show in Breckenridge surrounding the concept of “Noise” through the organization BreckCreate. NOISE was also the title of the show. For that show, I used “noise” as a broad starting point, exploring the concept for many perspectives — linguistic, social, visual, sonic, etc.
I’ve always been an interdisciplinary thinker (far before I knew of that word). My dad is a musician and recording engineer. My mother is a visual artist. Music and visual arts were an integral part of my upbringing and have never really existed separately in my mind. I grew up studying music, art, writing — anything I could get my hands on.
When I went to college, I consciously tried to not study art. I learned machining, welding, circuitry, the physics of sound and plenty of other tangible skills. Somehow, I failed at my attempt to not study art. I ended up also studying the history of experimental music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, poetry, bookmaking, printmaking and typography, as well as plenty of other subjects in art. I don’t think I’ve ever felt much of a distinction between mediums within myself. I’ve always been interested in approaching an idea from multiple perspectives. I’ve just wanted to spend my time growing my toolbox of skills which help me hone my perceptions of the world and my abilities to communicate those perceptions.
What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?
My creative practice is to manipulate perceptual experiences, encouraging people to engage with both the art of perception and the perception of art in completely new ways. It doesn’t get much better than when someone comes up to me and expresses that my work has in some way changed the way that they perceive the world.