Images of Bill Viola, The Dreamers, 2013
Title quote from Bill Viola, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House, Writings, p.253
Bill Viola’s words have crystallised something for me. They connect many of the strands that seem to crop up in my work… the experience of the body, of time, of the landscape as a physical thing. The body as conduit of the experience (simultaneously) of time and landscape, the body as a landscape in the frame.
Or rather, I don’t know if these things are apparent in my work, however, they are things which inform the choices I make.
As well as the sight of landscape, the sound of landscape enters the works. The sound of the rain and the wind in Snöplog. And Figure(s) became a sound piece – a “sculpting of time” (Viola again) through sound, object and body – falling beans alluding to waves, pebbles and the time of landscape, of the body, not of the mind.
“If you look at landscape in historical terms, you realize that most of the time we have been on Earth as a species, what has fallen on our retina is landscape, not images of buildings and cars and street lights.” Bill Viola
… the only thing that I tolerate, that I like, that is familiar to me, when I am photographed, is the sound of the camera. For me, the Photographer’s organ is not his eye (which terrifies me) but his finger: what is linked to the trigger of the lens, to the metallic shifting of the plates (when the camera still has such things). … For me the noise of Time is not sad: I love bells, clocks, watches—and I recall that at first photographic implements were related to techniques of cabinetmaking and the machinery of precision: cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing and perhaps in me someone very old still hears in the photographic mechanism the living sound of the wood.
Barthes on the stills camera
The camera as a means to mark, or measure the course of time. Or duration?
And what of the symbolic association with a living thing, a tree? Duration again?
Reflecting on presenting my research interests… May and October 2013
On both occasions I set up a live feed so that I could perform my interests…
Framing the body and composing with it,
The human subject as dancer (everybody is a dancer),
and the humanity of the ‘dancer’.
The juxtaposition of the everyday with the choreographed,
Improvisation in performance.
Responses to my presentation/s:
– How adept I am with technology (even in performance mode).
– How much technology I use in the performance.
– The delay in the projected image causes the viewer to question whether it really is a representation of me. This reminds me of Walter Benjamin’s assertion that through the camera lens, “The sight of immediate reality has become an orchid in the hands of technology”, and of Rene Magritte’s La Condition Humaine (1933)
As Magritte wrote:
In front of a window seen from inside a room, I placed a painting representing exactly that portion of the landscape covered by the painting. Thus, the tree in the picture hid the tree behind it, outside the room. For the spectator, it was both inside the room within the painting and outside in the real landscape. This simultaneous existence in two different spaces is like living simultaneously in the past and in the present, as in cases of deja vu. (My italics)
Quoted in Torczyner, Harry, Magritte: Ideas and Images. New York, 1977.
This simultaneity of past and present interests me… and leads me to Bergson and Deleuze’s notions of simultaneous, but differing durations.