Michael Julian Berz

Born in 1969 in Ontario, Canada, Michael Julian Berz grew up with his brother. They and their mother split their time between Austria and Germany. At twenty, he attended Universität Wien, where he studied journalism as well as political science. In August 2001, he became a correspondent for Austrian television, reporting and filming arts and culture programs from New York City.

Berz began documenting the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers within hours of the event. He worked with filmmaker Deborah Shaffer who directed the film From The Ashes–Ten Artists and co-directed From The Ashes–Epilogue, a profile of ten downtown artists and their experiences on September 11.

The films were presented at many sites in America and Europe, including Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah; Global Peace Film Festival 2002, Orlando, Florida; Diagonale 2002, Graz, Austria; Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival 2002 and 2003, New York; and Unplugged: Art as the Scene of Global Conflicts, Ars Electronica 2002, Linz, Austria. HBO/Cinemax purchased the first film for distribution in the U.S.

Berz also worked closely with artist Nancy Burson, assisting her in the filming of certain unnatural and unexplainable phenomenon while she was compiling her first book, Focus: How Your Energy Can Change the World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004)

Artist’s Statement

As an artist/photographer I look at the world around me with wonder and I seek to capture the energy of my subjects in a way that dissolves all issues of rightness and wrongness.

Since 9/11, my life and my photography identify best with the idea of living in the question. I now have the awareness that, within every moment I have a choice. That choice is the ability to live from the question instead of from the answer.

I am acutely aware of the consciousness within all things that surround me. In response to the violence I perceive increasing on and against our planet I now use my pictures as a signpost.

Could there be another choice for all of us who live on planet earth?

What if we were able to perceive how much caring we truly had to offer one another?

What if we were able to perceive the consciousness in the plants, animals and the Earth?

Could we in full conscious awareness continually destroy ourselves, our neighbors and our earth?

Is it possible to be fully aware and conscious and still create wars, famine and the pollution of our oceans and skies?

How much do we separate ourselves from our true being if we say:

I AM American. I AM German. This is MY country. This is MY History.

Does the river cease to flow when it reaches the border of another country?

Does pollution in the air of one nation stop at the border because people have agreed to divide themselves in this manner?

Does nature follow human ideas or does nature follow a course of its own?

How many rules of life and regulations have we created as our reality?

How long will it take for us to become aware that life is a continuous flow of energy and matter?

How can we assist the planet in recovering from the patterns of violence and consumption of it?

These are some of the ideas I wish to express with my videos and photos.

What would it take to create more peace, joy and ease in our daily lives?