The beginning of my Photography domain.

Research: Bill Viola

Bill Viola was born in Queens New York on January 25th in the year of 1952. He works within the fields of; Video, Electronic and New Media Art and is a contemporary video artist. The main focus of his work is based around the ideas behind what we as humans come to all experience in our lives which include; birth, death and consciousness. Within this generation he is considered to be the lead in artists that choose to use the workings and skills that are made dependent on; electronic, sound and image technology that lie within the sector of the New Media.

bill viola

His first you can call it, encounter into the world that is media, was when he became captain of the T.V squad where he attended P.S. 20, in Flushing. Being a graduate of Syracuse University in 1973 with a Bachelor in fine arts, to which he found his first job up0n graduation as a video technician.

Throughout the years between 1973 to 1980, he studied and performed alongside David Tudor. Also during this course of these 7 years Viola encountered on many project and jobs. Firstly he worked as a technical director as Art/Tapes/22, which was a pioneering video studio in Florence, Italy. To which he came across three video artists with the names being; Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Vito Acconti. Moving on to the year 1976, he travelled to the Soloman Islands, in order to record Traditional Performing Arts, as he was an artist in residence at WNET Thirteen Television in New York. His next venture in the year of 1977, resulted in him marrying the cultural arts director of a show at, La Trobe University in Australia. This cultural arts director was Kira Perov, through their marriage began the road to their lifelong collaboration in both working and travelling together. By the year of 1980 the married couple lived in Japan for about a year and a half, to during this time Bill Viola worked as an artist in residence at Sony.

Over the years Bill Viola has accomplished many things, to name a few; he became an instructor in Advanced Video in 1983, he represented the United States at the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995 and in the year 0f 1997 25 years of Viola’s work was represented through the organisation of a tour that was held by the Whitney Museum of American Art. In the more recent year of 2009 he was given the award of the Catalonia International prize, which was to honour his creative work.

bill 2

The main reason for me looking upon the work of Bill Viola, is his work with installations and that most of his art work relates and deals with the themes of the humans consciousness and experiences; birth, death, love, emotions and human spirituality. This aspect is highly influential and in comparison to my work on my FMP it is relatable also, given that my subject matter is based around the human opinions on death.

Viola’s work is put into 3 different types; conceptual, visual and a unique combination of the two. If I was to categorise my own, I feel it could carry a unique combination of the two, being that it is visually seen and that is what is taken in by the public the images that I am showing them projected onto my exhibition piece. Conceptual because its subject being on death and a representation of peoples opinions around it, is a relatable subject and its based on a concept that each and every individual will experience in their lives.

An Ocean Without a Shore

The installation that gave inspiration to my FMP, was called, ‘Ocean Without a Shore’. This was demised in the year of 2007, the piece is Viola is exploring life and death. Through the use of people standing in a foreground with nothing behind them but black, who are then exposed to gallons of water, asthough it is coming out of their bodies, as a symbol of them being reborn. This piece was shown in little Church of San Gallo.

The themes of this piece are highly relatable to my piece, the people stepping through the water wall are representing the dead and as they pass through they are coming into our world once again. In my own piece I have people, who with the use of a shadow of a particular object/belief/opinion is cast upon their face to represent that belief a person has on what happens to them after death. I, like Bill Viola through my work have been experimenting with a human experience. I went down that subject matter as I wanted my work to be a relatable subject, and for my installation to be understood by my audience with their own take on it, as each individual will have their own opinion on death, as I have found out through my research.

From looking at the work of Bill Viola, I feel I have took my most influence on my own project, given the reasons I have expressed above with it carrying a conceptual and visual technique and it being a human experience.


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This entry was posted on January 30, 2014 by in Final Media Productions.
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