TH Art: Electronic Visual

Natasha V. More (
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 15:02:12 -0700 (MST)

A superb example of technological electronics combined with extropic
transhuman mythic visuals is exemplified in an instillation by Bill Viola
entitled _Stations_. Because this work is a traveling exhibition, I thought
some of you might be interested in viewing it if and when it comes to your
area. So far, it has been exhibited in Paris, New York, Eindhoven, and
Stuttgart. (I'm not positive, but it might also be traveling to Madrid and

"_Stations_ is comprised of five channels of video projections, screens,
granite, and sound. Five cloth screens are suspended from the ceiling of
the darkened gallery. Large slabs of polished black granite are placed flat
on the floor at the bottom edge of each screen. Individual human figures
submerged in water head downward are projected onto each screen. On the
slick surfaces of granite slabs one sees the righted reflection of the
slowly moving figures. Underwater sounds fill the gallery space. At random
intervals the projected figures glide slowly out of the frame, leaving the
space dark and silent. Suddenly the figures plunge back into view with
brilliant splash of sound and light, momentarily illuminating the entire

The above-interpretation of the installation is descriptive, but it is even
more vibrant and symbolic. While entering the gallery space, it is actually
solid black with only the slightest hint of light which gives a direction to
follow. The underwater sound is magnificent - reverberating throughout the
space. The five video screens are impeccably designed and are in exacting
rectangular shapes from a frontal view and from the side-view appear as very
thin lines of light (like lasers). The floating bodies are life-size and
naked, and basically in black and white with only a hint of earth tones in
the hair of one model. The light is very bright from the video screens, yet
the bodies float slowly and gracefully. Every now and then a body
disappears into blackness and then reemerges with a sudden and shocking
splash - as if being suddenly woken up.

Interpretations of this intentionally poetic and meditative installation are
varied. Some see the video-screens with suspended bodies as cryonic dewars
with suspendees. The artist himself states, "There is no single viewing
angle to the piece, and viewers are free to enter and move about the space
at will. An initial surface appearance of the eerie, serene beauty ...
isolated, free-floating bodies evoking an eternal state between dream and