06 February 2008

Bill Viola's 'Anthem'

"Anthem is a post-industrial lamentation, structured on the single piercing scream of a young girl as she stands in the vast chamber of Union Station in Los Angeles. Viola relates this structure to the form and function of religious chants, particularly Gregorian chants (using a harmonic scale in a resonant hall) and Tantric Buddhist chants (ritual exorcism and conversation with demons). The original scream is extended in time and shifted in frequency to produce a scale of harmonic notes that comprises the soundtrack, to which Viola juxtaposes images of materialism -- industry and the worship of the body, giant oil pumps and the beating human heart, cars streaming along a freeway and blood flowing through veins, modern surgical technology and tree branches in an ancient forest. The anguished scream cuts through the corporeality of the body and contemporary culture as a living organism. For Viola, the piece is a ritual evocation of 'our deepest primal fears, darkness, and the separation of body and spirit.'"

- Electronic Arts Intermix
Just watch it.


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04 February 2008

Bill Viola + Nine Inch Nails

The Great Below I first encountered Bill Viola's work unknowingly, through this very image in the teaser for Nine Inch Nails' Still album. I really, really love the video pieces he made projected in the background of La Mer, The Great Below and The Mark Has Been Made during the Fragility tour. The image above is part of an incredibly beautiful sequence shot in poppy fields. The Great Below La Mer I've always really loved the aesthetics of The Fragile and La Mer and The Great Below are two of my favourite songs on that record. It's wonderful to see the sentiment in the music both reflected and complemented so well by gorgeous visuals. La Mer The Great Below
"I wanted to let the images actually provide a base for the music. I'm really not interested in illustrating music and certainly not in cutting on the beat or throwing in every little movement in the song. I think images can function, in contrast to a lot of music videos ... as kind of a base or a steady state that allows the music to flow and ebb and crest over the top of it."

- Bill Viola in the DVD commentary on And All That Could Have Been
The Great Below The Great Below One of the last few images from The Great Below and also one of the strongest and most enigmatic. Viola talks about how this is an image "of ascension... into another world, another state". Interesting, considering that it reminds me a lot of The Hanged Man of the tarot. Check out the videos:

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Art & artists I love, like or just feel like posting about. Including (but not limited to) painting, photography, illustration, cinema, music videos, books and web design. Mouseover images for titles, or click through to the Flickr account for some extra images.

My name is Abigail and you can find out more about me here. Also you can email me here.
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