Bill Viola Essay

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Bill Viola is certainly a name known around the world as being the pioneer in the medium of video art. His work is based mainly on terms of bodily wealth and self cleansing, incorporating water and fire into many of his works. Born in 1951 on January 25th, Viola was bred in Queens, New York. Early signs of Viola’s capability were shown after becoming captain of the school TV Squad at the tender age of nine. Notably the most influential moment in Viola’s life, was at the age of ten when he almost drowned after falling into a lake. Under a state of unconsciousness, Viola recalls the moment as ‘a magical, extraordinary world of colour and emotion, with plants and fish wafting through the current’. This moment sparked the lifelong attraction to water and the meanings and emotions of life and death, which can be seen in Viola’s videos such as Five Angels for the Millennium, (2001) and The Messenger, (1997). Also drawing back onto his own experiences with life and death, the birth of his son and the death of his mother, Viola produced one of the most emotional pieces of his collection whilst filming both of these highly important times in life. The birth of a new life, and the end of a life, Viola made Heaven and Earth (1992). Studying as an undergraduate accounting at Syracuse University, Viola became highly curious of Jack Neilson, the Professor in a new media program within the Experimental Studios, and Viola soon dropped out of his accounting course, taking up the new media course. After which Viola went on to study Electronic Engineering, Mysticism and Literature in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, finally graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. After graduating from University, Viola travelled and studied many different cultures in overseas countries. From Bali to Fiji, and India to Japan, Viola travelled and recorded each

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