So this week, one of my big discoveries has been the work of Bill Viola, particularly Five Angels for the Millennium (2001), thanks to Anna Williams, my choreographic mentor for this project, and Eckhard Thiemann, who suggested this and other references after our first sharing of work in progress at Moving East last Friday.
From what I've seen so far, there's much to associate with what we've been doing in rehearsal: for example, the use of water imagery to initiate physical change in the piece, but also to reflect something more than physical; the exploration of sensory experience on a personal level, but also ways of opening up personal experience to create something more universal; the use of distorted time, space and perspective to guide us to see new things in scenarios we might otherwise take for granted, or take at face value.
From the biography on Viola's website:
Viola uses video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. Using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories, his videos communicate to a wide audience, allowing viewers to experience the work directly, and in their own personal way.and a Tate press release from 2003:
Bill Viola describes the piece `The human figure arrives intermittently as a powerful explosion of light and sound that interrupts an otherwise peaceful, nocturnal underwater landscape. Because the sequences run in slow motion, and are further altered by running backwards and forwards or right-side up and upside-down, the image is read in unexpected ways, and the disorientation becomes an essential aspect of the work's theme