Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey

I normally wouldn't even review an art exhibit, but I thought this particular one deserved a portion of my movie ram-blings section given the nature of the art: Bill Viola's videography. I caught the last day of his exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which lasted from 8p to 6a on a Saturday night.

Much like John Cage, Viola's work tries to get the audience to watch and hear their own ambiance. The most explicit example of this is in the work He Weeps For You. Here, a carefully controlled drop of water appears before a camera lens, which one can stand in front of, and falls on a drum, showing the audience what they look like through such a lens. But other pieces, including the dream sequences, also are of the same nature, compelling the audience to look at themselves, and offering many interpretations of what is seen through the eyes and heard through the ears. It is video post-modernism.

The only lament I have about this kind of art is the fact that there are many artists who are of the same calibre as Viola but yet have not achieved as much recognition.

Other highlights of the exhibit included Anthem (with some cool ambient sounds), Slowly Turning Narrative (with a turning screen), and The Veiling (with a neat three-dimensional effect as the images grow larger on the vein). A great way to spend a beautiful Saturday night. We ended it by walking through the park across the museum and finding a place to eat late at night and listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||