domingo, maio 02, 2010


Bill Viola, The Reflecting Pool
video, color, mono sound, 1977-79
(Frenoys, Abr 2010)

I was trying to get ar the original notion of baptism in a way—a process of cleansing or clearing away, and the idea of breaking through illusion. Water is such a powerful, obvious symbol of cleansing, and also of birth, rebirth and even death. We como from water and ina way slide back into its undifferentiated mass at death.


In the mid-1990's when I was having lunch with some art collectors, one of them, a trauma surgeon, kept looking at me and finally said, "have you ever had a near-death experience?" I was taken aback, but finally said "Yes," and it occurred to me then for the first time that what I always remembered as a positive, even blissful experience was in fact a near-death crisis. I was six and a half years old, on a family vacation in Upstate New York, when I jumped off a raft and forgot to hold on to my inner tube. I went straight to the bottom, opened my eyes, and saw this incredible vision of an underwater landscape I never knew existed. It was turquoise blue and emerald green, with shimmering shafts of light, fish swimming, and plants undulating in the current. It was beautiful, and I was calm and had no fear. Then, an arm came down and roughly yanked me back up to the surface. It was my uncle, but I was annoyed because I wanted to stay there. To this day I can see that blue-green place and feel that peaceful calm vividly. It is the closest image I have to Paradise.


It's actually fairly primitive as far as video effects go. It would be easier to do today than when I did it a few years ago. The key element of the piece, as in a lot of my other work, is the stationary camera. Keeping the camera in the same place automatically means that any objects that have not moved between different recordings can be registered (aligned) again, and reconstructed to make a whole image. I've been trying to work for a while with recombining levels of time within the frame, times which are not strictly dependent on ghe sort of absolute time of the running of the videotape machine.

from interviews with Bill Viola, 1985, 2007, 1985

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