Bill Viola at the Grand Palais, Paris5 March 2014 to 21 July 2014
by Joseph Nechvatal(all photos by the author) published 3/13/2014 as
s Moving Void
Free-floating habits are often hard to abandon. The term “video” as a definable medium -and thus “video art” - is now essentially archaic, due to convergence of all of the capturetechnologies into postmedia computer manipulated moving image/sound files, that andthe development of digital image display technologies. Consequently rendering thedistinctions between previously distinct media, such as “video”, “video tape” and “film”increasingly obsolete and incoherent.Still, during early spring-like days in Paris, Bill Viola was presented to the city of lightsas our “most celebrated exponent of video art,” a position now largely irrelevant.Evidently, a video camera recording onto videotape is no longer a prerequisite for the production of moving sound images that circulate under the name of video art.Regardless, Viola’s moving (barely) digital art show (his first retrospective in France, andcurated by Jérôme Neutres and Kira Perov) brought back to mind the pleasures of nourishing spring showers. Yes, warm March showers, along with the resonances of thedistinguished viola player Yehudi Menuhin, came to mind there, in that Menuhin, likeViola, too makes art that coolly nourishes.