Monday, October 05, 2009

Bill Viola's creative mind

I've been aesthetically captured by Bill Viola's video art since first seeing it in person at Cranbrook in the '90s, but have recently developed an entirely new appreciation after listening to him speak about it. He has a lucidity about his own process few visual artists can express with words. There are few things I enjoy more than learning about an artist's creative process - not just the technical how, but the why, the motivations and all the steps in between. That's why the clips below are such a treat.


"The Passage", 1987 - Flickr photo by 17 SIP

I got on a renewed Viola kick over the weekend, when Adam Greenfield posted a couple long photos of rather sublime just noticeable difference street ads for H&M in Helsinki. These immediately made me think of the jnd master. This also got me thinking about Nine Inch Nails' '00 Fragility tour - with backing films that looked heavily influenced by Viola's work. Being such a fan of both, I was surprised to learn Viola had actually created said films for Trent Reznor.

In the two clips here, Viola articulates both the creative motivations and technical processes in the making of the Nine Inch Nails media:


Bill Viola about his work for Nine Inch Nails Part 1: La Mer


Bill Viola about his work for Nine Inch Nails Part 2: The Great Below + The Mark Has Been Made

For a deeper look into Viola's mind, also see this DesignBoom interview from 2007. An excerpt below about twilight, thresholds and "moments of instability" [subjects very near and dear to our mission at Burnlab]:

2 comments:

AG said...

Wow, I had no idea. Bill Viola is also one of my longtime faves ("The Crossing" and "Nantes Triptych" especially), but I guess I simply haven't been following his work these last few years.

Thanks for redressing this lapse on my part!

Michael Doyle said...

Adam-
It's your fault! ;)