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Bill Viola

Video Artist

1/7: The concept behind Fire Woman and Tristan's Ascension

films short-films
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

2/7: The story behind The Raft, commissioned by the Athens Olympic Games

films inspiration
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

3/7: Everyone is an artist

films well-said
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

4/7: Leaving a space of emptiness in everything you do

films process the-business-of
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

5/7: Using sound to explore temporal movement within his video pieces

films inspiration process
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

6/7: Jalal Al-Din Rumi: 'The wound is the place where the light enters you'

films inspiration well-said
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Bill Viola

Video Artist

7/7: The effect a near-death experience had on his life

films critical-moments

BillViola

Bill Viola is a legend of video art. His works beautifully evoke a human relationship to the four elements of fire, water, wind and earth. Over a period of four decades Viola has demonstrated the aesthetic and emotional potential of video technology - considered a low rent alternative to film when he started using the medium in 1970.

Few artists that we’ve interviewed have been so deft in describing the connection between their personal philosophy and how it guides and feeds their work. A practicing Buddhist, Viola articulates how humans (and their environments) are connected to the fundamentals of geological time: a temporality that becomes meaningful when Viola’s characters gracefully succumb to water or fire.

From the grainy monochrome video of the 1960s to high-definition capture technologies, his long spanning career derives coherence through a patient and precise meditation on the potential of the moving image. Viola avoids the pitfalls of “new media” by separating the conceptual aspect of his work from it’s technical execution.

Whilst his practice in part develops alongside the fast paced changes in technology, the underpinning logic is timeless. His films do not branch in a single direction - the individual frames and sequences are charged with a life of their own. The result are films that follow the logic of the part rather than the whole, leaving a small “space of emptiness” for the viewer to engage with.

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