I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like, 1986

NTSC, sound, colour

Everything begins one day in the undifferentiated waters where the organic elements are created and the world bathes, watches and drowns.
This tape continues Bill Viola's constant examination of the perception of reality, made up of fragmented times, legends and archaic myths present in each of the landscapes or faces that we contemplate. And what we contemplate constantly ref lects us. Thus, in this genuinely autobiographical work, Bill Viola seeks his image through endless landscapes, from the United States to Japan and India, through rites and ancient writings (his title comes from the Rig Veda), in the empty eyes of a emaciated animal and a fish, in the reflection of the bright eye of an owl like a dark mirror where the figure of the artist gradually and slowly appears, filming himself. "I do not know who I am", says the creator in the imm ensity of the representations. A spot of light in the night, an eternal rock, an animal on the look out, a trace of light, a simple reflection in water?
Bill Viola plays with time and space, revealing a present already past, in constant metamorphosis, through long fixed shots. He places these images beyond their simple representation, before and after, in a circular motion which grows strong er. We come across echoes of his previous works (Anthem, Hatsu Yume), towns at night crossed by burst of light, tree trunks like human limbs, animals tearing one another apart in the night, an elephant bathing in the bottom of a glass, the soul of a landscape, a beating heart, a flying fish closing round itself the infinite time of creation, the materialization of a wise dream.

Stéphanie Moisdon