Quotes by Bill Viola

Bill Viola

American video artist

Alive from: 1951-

Category: Artists

Quotes 1 till 15 of 21.

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  • Bill Viola
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    A doctor once told me that with crying you aren't sure what its derivation is. If someone comes at you with a knife, you don't cry: you scream, you try to run. When it's over and you're OK, that's when you cry.
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    A lot of what making art is, is just being open, and empty. And putting yourself in the right place for things to, literally, come together.
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    Art is, for me, the process of trying to wake up the soul. Because we live in an industrialized, fast-paced world that prefers that the soul remain asleep.
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    Creativity is not the property of artists alone. It's a basic element of the human character, no matter what culture you're in, no matter where you are on Earth or in history.
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    Emotions are the key to many aspects of life. They are precisely the elements that make human beings human. I think the fact that emotions have been reduced and put off to the side in intellectual work, particularly in the 20th Century, is tragic.
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    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.
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    My works really begin in a very simple way. Sometimes it's an image, and sometimes it's words I might write, like a fragment of a poem.
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    One of the most important things for me in terms of my working method is doubt. I get very insecure about my ideas. And I don't say 'insecure' in kind of a paranoid way. I mean just: 'Are they good enough?' 'Is this the right thing to do?' I really beat myself up over that.
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    Since the time of St. Jerome, it was mandatory for any kind of scholar or thinker to spend time out in the desert in solitude. It's no coincidence that the desert has been a major part of the visionary or mystical experience from the beginning of time.
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    The fundamental aspect of video is not the image, even though you can stand in amazement at what can be done electronically, how images can be manipulated and the really extraordinary creative possibilities. For me the essential basis of video is the movement - something that exists at the moment and changes in the next moment.
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    The human brain is probably one of the most complex single objects on the face of the earth; I think it is, quite honestly.
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    The velocity and knee-jerk response to events happening in real time that television brings us precludes any kind of reflection or contemplation and therefore analysis. And that's been one of the greatest political dangers in the post-war era. The idea of the reasoned, thoughtful response goes out of the window.
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    The very first video experience I had was in high school. They brought a black-and-white closed-circuit surveillance camera into the classroom. I will never forget, as a kid, looking at that image.
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    There is a big push that we all are engaged in, in wanting to have the newest in innovation - and I think that's all really great. But I also feel that human beings need to be aware of, and grounded in, history.
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    There's another world out there just beyond the world we're in. It's just on the other side of that translucent, semitransparent surface.
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