Case Study of the Life of Bill Viola


Bill Viola is populating fable of media and engineering particularly in video production. Viola Born on January 25, 1951 in Queens, New York, United States of America. Viola spent his early old ages of life in his place town Queens and subsequently on shifted to Westbury, New York. Viola had funny nature that ever triggered him to travel in front to fear. Once he was on a hilly country trip with his household, where he about drowned in lake but he mentions the incident as one of the most bewitching experiences of his life. Viola earned university grade from Syracuse University, Syracuse New York in 1973 in all right art and started his professional calling as a picture technician at Everson Museum of Arts in Syracuse, New York. Subsequently on two old ages he worked as proficient manager in Art/Tapes/22. And in 1976 and 1977 he traveled across the universe to enter cultural humanistic disciplines public presentations. In 1977 Viola was invited by WNET 13 channel Television research lab New York to work as an creative person in abode where he directed a noteworthy series of work and they were on aired. 1977 proved to be lucky for Viola in footings of personal life, he was invited to La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia by their cultural humanistic disciplines manager, Kira Parov as in the really following twelvemonth Ms. Parov became Mrs. Viola. In 1979 Viola along with his partner Parov, traveled to Sahara desert, Tunisia to enter mirages. In 1980 Viola achieved a cultural family between US and Japan for one and half twelvemonth at Japan. In Japan, Parov and Viola acquired cognition in Zen Buddhism and Viola became the first creative person in abode at Sony Corporation’s Atsugi research research labs. At the terminal of 1981 Parov and Viola came back to USA but this clip in California where Viola joined California Institute of Arts as an teacher and taught Advanced Video Technology. Viola besides continued his art work with a alone subject with Parov. They created art work based on human organic structure medical images retrieved from a local infirmary, carnal consciousness in a menagerie at San Diego and fire walking rites of Hindu community at Fiji. Parov had great involvement and experience in picture taking. In 1987 both travel to south west of USA and captured stone sites and recorded pictures of desert landscapes.

Viola’s art work is intriguing, the manner he relates everything behind the camera to sole religious thoughts. His picture demo his great and alone love for nature. In 2005 he went to Dharamshala, India with his boies to enter a supplication with Dalai Lama. Viola has great passion for music excessively. From 1973 to 1980, seven old ages he had worked, performed and learned with a composer David Tudor, being attached to a music group “Rainforest” . Viola’s arts work got planetary acknowledgment and assessment back in 1970’s. Numerous exhibitions of humanistic disciplines in all over the universe exhibited Viola’s originative humanistic disciplines work. For case in 1987 at Museum of Modern Art, New York “Installations and Videotapes” . In 1995, Viola represented USA exhibiting one his celebrated piece of art work “Buried Secrets” at the 46th Venice Biennale. In 1997, Whitney Museum of American Arts paid a testimonial to Viola’s art work by showing Viola’s 25 old ages of art work that had around 35 installings and picture tapes. Viola has a alone personality and thought. In an interview he revealed that he don’t like to populate in crowded topographic points, he prefers to populate in the corner side of metropolis therefore he’s populating from last 25 old ages in a corner of long beach, California with his partner and two boies. His studio is nearby to his house and he has rented another house, where he has maintained a resource library. In that house, he goes and stays to believe and be after thoughts, without any communicating beginning non even phone. Harmonizing to Bill Viola, he thinks more creatively when he his near to nature and off from people and day-to-day everyday tensenesss. He merely goes to his studio after explicating an thought to work else he doesn’t travel. He takes things and events positively, like he has no fright that life will stop. In fact the chief subject behind most of his work, we all life in this universe for a short continuance and we have to return into ageless life, that’s stableness. His art works began to exhibit when he was at school at the age of, normally displayed on wall. During his academic life, his pictures were ever fixed on walls and they are still at that place. This fact convinces that he has in born endowment of going an creative person, much like a passion that subsequently on became his profession ( Viola, 1990 ) . His thoughts are profoundly rooted in spiritualism, Mysticism, shamanism, Buddhism. Taoism, Sufism, and philosophical ideas ( Ross, Sellars, & A ; Hyde, 1997 ) . Viola has received legion awards for his outstanding parts to media and picture engineering. In 1984 he received a national award: Polaroid Video Art Award for his exceeding accomplishment. Again in 1987, he received Maya Deren Award from American Film Institute, USA. In 1989, his work was honored with John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award, USA. In 1993, he was awarded Skowhegan Medal for his contributions’ in Video Installation, USA. Viola has immense part to art in footings of ancient civilization, his services were acknowledged and awarded in 2003 by American Federal of Arts that presented him Cultural leading Award. Viola non merely received prestigiousness and awards from his place state but across worldwide. In 2006, he received NORD/LB Art award in Bremen, Germany. In 2009, he was honored by an award from Cambridge MA. In 2009 he won International Prize at Barcelona, Spain. In 2011 Viola’s university, Syracuse University felt great pride and award in his pupil parts to field of humanistic disciplines and awarded him Arent Award for Distinguished Alumni. Recently in 2013 he received two awards, one from Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, CO the “National Artist Award” and the other from Aurora Picture Show, Houston, TX the “Aurora Award” . Along with a long list of awards, Viola has besides received nine ( 9 ) honorary doctorial grades in Fine Arts from assorted universities and institutes worldwide.


In media engineering legion creative person are working on picture engineering and installings, what makes Viola’s art unique is usage of slow gesture with intensive computing machine based redaction. He has contributed a batch in this field, in this paper we will discourse some of his plants.

In 2007 Viola represented US in 52neodymiumVenice Biennale where he presented his picture installing, “ocean without shore” . It’s one the major and greatly influential picture installings by Viola. The construct behind “Ocean Without Shore” is about the passage between life and decease with utilizing H2O. A spectator faces three big picture proctors which are placed in a dark room. About 20 four people get downing looking from an unseeable H2O wall. Flow of H2O is dynamic. Every individual walks entirely and get down nearing the spectator. Those 20 four people are all same, brumous and skin tone is gray. As the semen closer to the spectator, at a certain distance that is a threshold between them and viewer, they touch the unobserved threshold. When they touch it, it clearly seeable as a powerful heat lightening. Afterwards they turn back and travel once more to the unseeable H2O wall. Whole picture installing last for one and half hr. Every individual looking from the unseeable H2O wall is soundless, unagitated, and inactive. They are pass oning with deep emotions. Their emotions can be written into 1000s of words. Each of the individual returns, as if decease is strike harding at his door. They are in a unusual peaceable province as reaching of decease is welcomed by them. Ocean Without shore is a deep emotional illustration of homo. It depicts the events which lie at concurrence point of decease and life. Bill Viola says, “The picture sequence paperss a sequence of persons easy nearing out of darkness and traveling into the visible radiation in order to go through into the physical universe. Once bodied, nevertheless, all existences realize that their presence is finite and so they must finally turn away from stuff being to return from where they came. The rhythm repeats without end.” Idea of Ocean Without Shore was taken from the poesy of Birago Diop. Birago was inspired from a Sufi mysterious Ibn Arabi who said “The Self is an ocean without a shore. Gazing upon it has no beginning or terminal, in this universe and the next.” This work shows Viola is influenced by mysticism and Sufism. Viola’s work allows viewer to comprehend all signifiers of life, in a ways he persuades the spectator to see his ain contemplation in the basic thoughts of hope, desire, love, decease, regeneration and above all stableness ( Robson, 2011 ) .

Another great piece of art was subsequently on presented by Viola that portions concept and subject with Ocean without shores. Bodies of visible radiation is a distinct series of Transfigurations that focus on the clip when a individual or object follows the rule of transmutation due to internal forces of high witting non external. Viola shows the transmutation of ego is normally called by an interior realisation. A individual gets clear thought of his psyche, his filthy, unfiltered set of emotions and so he overcomes all such emotions and gets transformed into a new being, an ideal being. In this piece of art Viola used black and white images of apparitional organic structures, that appear easy from darkness, and pass through a certain threshold of H2O and enter enlighten colourful universe. That new reaching of self-encounters with diverse set of human emotions from joy to fury, and all are occupied with some desires, and eventually these apparitional organic structures disappear in darkness from where the appeared. In this installing Viola used images shootings from an old camera along with shootings with a High definition camera ( Viola, Bodies of Light ) . In this artistic picture Viola conveys a message of life to his spectator that their comes a point in life, when a individual changes itself for his interior peace and satisfaction. Runing with this universe may gain money and luxury to a individual but the cost is an individual’s internal peace. Internal forces become stronger to external forces and therefore a man’s life become calm.


Bill Viola is a large name in the picture engineering and installings, and has achieved many awards and awards due to his parts. One can non state viola came into this field by opportunity or by pick. He is an congenital creative person. Harmonizing to him life without art is non a life. Despite great sum of celebrity and acknowledgment, Viola’s life is simple and he looks for simpleness in every facet of life. The chief thought of Bill Viola’s work is about basic human life, demands and procedures. The manner he tries to associate the being of adult male with decease is singular. He shows both sides of positions in his work. Exemplifying the phenomenon of decease so much is normally considered as pessimism. It may devoid the viewer’s involvement from life and he may believe that life will stop so why he has to do attempts for endurance. But Viola on the same clip attempts to convert the spectator that he can non get away from cosmopolitan worlds. A dead being is really undead. He persuades the viewing audiences to believe at high degree of consciousness. This attack provokes the spectator to understand the importance of basic human needs that are love, hope, heartache and a desire to populate. Viola uses H2O and visible radiation along with high dimensional camera’s to picture his subjects. His hallmark is usage of slow gesture, organic structures ( characters ) appear and disappear in proctors of picture screen really easy and swimmingly. His picture enhances the sum of repose in the spectator. Viola uses latest engineering and works on old age construct and thoughts peculiarly Sufism and Mysticism. Viola’s piece of work are unagitated, calm and smooth that adds repose in spectator. Viola’s work is more about to chew over than to praise the high dimension camera. His subjects are cosmopolitan and influence all sort of people. One can non claim that he makes art pieces and picture installings for a peculiar category of people. Viola has deep involvement in ancient saints and their history.


Robson, J. ( 2011, November 19 ) .Bill Viola: Ocean Without a Shore.Retrieved from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Ross, D. A. , Sellars, P. , & A ; Hyde, L. ( 1997 ) .Bill Viola.New York: Whitney Museum of American Art.

Viola, B. ( 1990, June 30 ) . Contemporay Arts. ( M. Nash, Interviewer )

Viola, B. ( n.d. ) . Bodies of Light.Bodies of Light.James Cohan Gallery, New York.