My first encounter with Jordan Plotnek was while bundled into a bus on a wine tour many a year ago; another life, another time for us both.
Most of us give over to at least a kind of transformation as the moments of our lives ramble on, though in his case the journey tells of a complete and considered reconstruction of self. One that can only truly be executed through deep introspection and commitment to being on mettle, again and again.
As an artist, musician, engineer, and scientist, Jordan has chosen to devote his life to solving some of humanity’s most pressing issues through professional pursuits in multiple fields (including cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, and critical infrastructure, though we don’t really delve into these here). Inspired by both the moral challenges of his ongoing security endeavours and his travel experiences, his artwork (expressionist painting, mostly) explores themes surrounding the nature of humankind and human society at large.
When I tune into Jordan, I sense a man standing at the centre of the world, listening and feeling as it heaves endless data points at him without much consideration at all for his own determinations. Perhaps once he tried to catch them all, metabolise en masse, but in this moment he conducts the onslaught like one might an orchestra; part detailed composition, part spontaneous riff. It feels to me like Jordan employs a receptive and inner knowing of where these edges are best met to conjure potent, commanding melodies that beckon us all forward into the skin of our own inquisitive nature.
He joined me for a conversation from his little pocket of Montréal, Knob Creek Kentucky bourbon in hand and curiosity in heart. At times we meandered into territory we had covered off air previously, and delved deeper, and at others we met at the fringes of fields not yet explored in our conversations.
I hope you enjoy our chat as much as we did.
The ground we covered:
- Jordan’s passage from conservative engineer to nomadic artist
- My own unsuspecting role in his evolution
- How personal aesthetic influences our sense of self
- Creativity as an outlet for emotion
- Declaring himself an artist first
- The ripples and responses of those who bear witness to transformation
- Dancing between systems based thinking and intuitive instinct
- What it means to have someone in your corner through drastic personal transformation
- Leaning into being a conduit for intuition with his art
- The liberating impact of polyamory, and how opening up his relationship opened up new threads of intimacy and nourishment
- What he craves now in the face of an unstable world
- Losing trust in the narratives given to you
- Jordan’s Journey From Military Engineer To Nomadic Artist
- The Living Myth podcast by Michael Meade (in the episode I mixed up this one with Sharon Blackie’s podcast This Mythic Life, which is also excellent)
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari