New Modality Team:
Michael J. Seidlinger, Print and Digital Producer
Michael J. Seidlinger is a writer, editor, and entrepreneur living in Brooklyn. We are lucky to have his immense energy as a recent addition to the NewMo team, working on both digital and print production for our upcoming Issue One!
How would you present your bio?
Michael J Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of My Pet Serial Killer, Dreams of Being, The Fun We’ve Had, and nine other books. He has written for, among others, Buzzfeed, Thrillist, and Publishers Weekly, and has led workshops at Catapult, Kettle Pond Writer’s Conference, and Sarah Lawrence. He is a co-founder and member of the arts collective, The Accomplices, and founder of the indie press, Civil Coping Mechanisms (CCM). He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he never sleeps and is forever searching for the next best cup of coffee.
What are some of your own favorite past projects? Why do you feel great about them?
I swear the longer I’m alive on this planet, the tougher it is for me to remember all that I’ve done. It’s so much easier to keep looking forward, moving with the momentum of your current project. But I enjoyed the DIY nature of running a small literary press (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and being part of a diverse group of artists with like-minded interests in innovative publishing projects (The Accomplices). Social media was an early fascination of mine, resulting in all kinds of experiments — from living in an airport for 48 hours to a month-long social media driven road trip exploring the nature of digital connectivity — but you could say I feel great about every project I get to be a part of, especially when the project evolves enough to stand up on its own two feet.
“Deviant behavior, social experiments, and countercultural phenomena: I’m a sucker for any of it. I’ll spend a whole day reading everything the internet has to offer.”
What is a cultural phenomenon, experiment, or moment that has inspired you in the past?
I almost never mention that I studied sociology during undergrad but it’s true, and acts as a reflection of my underlying fascination for deviant behavior, social experiments, and countercultural phenomena. I’m a sucker for any of it. I’ll spend a whole day reading everything the internet has to offer.
It’s common to see it spill over into my reading habits too, stacks of books about everything from DIY cultures to documentaries like Dark Days about societies living within societies, struggling but staying alive out of necessity. But I’m also amazed at what technology has opened in terms of possibility. Just look at how SoundCloud revitalized the music industry. Artists like BONES and Lil Peep and XXXTentacion and Juice Wrld and Ghostemane and $uicideboy$ took to the platform and began building communities around their music — songs often recorded and uploaded quickly, eschewing the standard model of music distribution — with no direct interest in “signing to a label.” It came at a time when the industry lost the means of giving most artists record deals that actually made sense. In that complex mixture of curiosity and passion, desperation and adaptation, a thriving community is born. It happens all the time, no matter the context, and it becomes a constant reminder that there can be beauty found in even the most bankrupt of situations.
What's a relatively small, highly achievable dream of a better world that you sometimes think about but haven't done yet?
I feel like we all could stand to make better use of our time. A lot of artists, for better or for worse, are stuck in the gig economy, a flutter of different low-paying but “open-ended” tasks; though it is most definitely not sustainable, the gig economy has proven that the nature of work systemically needs to be reexamined for sustainability and the betterment of those stuck in the grind of working. We could all stand to examine society's aged structures and see what no longer works, or maybe never really worked, but one thing that definitely needs to be reexamined and redesigned is the modern "work week." When most of us essentially work nonstop "around" the rusted-over 9-5 routine, often fitting in dozens of gigs surrounding that societal cushion of space, you know something's outdated and outright archaic.
What are your favorite links that will help our audience learn about you, your life, your work, and your values?
New Modality Catalysts
The New Modality is about experiments in culture — and the people who do those experiments. NewMo Catalysts are people who do things we admire and want to celebrate. They also help us stay accountable to our values. To learn more about NewMo Catalysts (or nominate someone to be a Catalyst), check out the Catalyst FAQ.
This profile was edited by Michael J. Seidlinger and Lydia Laurenson, founder and editor in chief at The New Modality.
The information in our Catalyst profiles usually comes directly from the subjects, and we usually don't fact-check them. You can learn more about The New Modality's fact-checking and epistemological ideas by reading the page about our process for truth and transparency.