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Rob

Thanks for the tip.
I'll definitly be paying a visit.
Cheers

darren

i saw the passions exhibit last year when it was in canberra, it became my sacred space for the time it was here, i got to the point that id make myself a cd for the day, wander in and hit play and listen to the cd as i wandered through the exhibition.

ahhh twas grand

Helen

I found your blog through Chris Iddon's blog. I sent him the following reply to your post and he suggested I post it here....it seemed appropriate...


ah yes, bill viola. i'm afraid i'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to mr viola's work. i came across it a few years back and at first i was struck immediately - after all, who can't be overwhelmed by his seemingly majestic landscape videos of water pouring out of buildings and people being resurrected from the depths of a lake.

but, a few years on and he's still playing off the same overtly-spiritual manipulation of a medium (film) with so much undiscovered potential. his interest in buddhism and finding peace with the world is at first an interesting insight, but after a while becomes quite mundane. And soon you realise that his use of the "wow" factor to win round an audience really isn't that clever. I mean, infiltrating a dark room with an image in slow motion and acting out the emergence of a lifeless body based on the fresco by, i think it's masolino, to symbolise life/death and resurrection is an example of art which is constructed to appeal to people on a fairly immediate and commercialized level. I know that sounds harsh, and yes perhaps the images are beautiful, but you only have to read reports of viewers who've "found themselves weeping" infront of his videos to see that they don't challenge how we operate or who we are, but encourage us to "lose ourselves" in front of the sceen, succumbing to the image as though we can no longer think for ourselves. It's like when they play a cheery pop song in a film scene to influence your mood-reaction to that particular part of the film. It's an example of video depending upon seduction to hold the audience captive; technology used for impact rather than as a critical tool. And don't get me wrong I think video has so much potential, I am a video-artist/student myself. But Viola's work has a lot in common with the way our society uses media/advertising to seduce, leading to the fetishization of the image, rather than deeper thought in the viewer. The effect of the work relies on the perceptual experience of the viewer accustomed to living in a society of spectacle and simulation (as argued by Guy Debord in his book "the society of the spectacle").... I've never stood infront of a work by Viola and felt my perception shift, or felt compelled to interrogate my position, or needed to question. It's all there on a plate ready for me to consume. The image is epic and engulfing - i'm meant to feel awe-struck.

Anyway, that's my rant!! I could go into further detail but I'm sure you'll gather your own opinions!!

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  • jonny profile pic

    i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

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