'Acoustic Architecture: Music and Space in the Video Installations of Bill Viola'

Rogers, Holly. 2005. 'Acoustic Architecture: Music and Space in the Video Installations of Bill Viola'. Twentieth Century Music, 2(2), pp. 197-219. ISSN 1478-5722 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Video installation art is a collaboration of sound, image, and space, with a closer relationship to music and art than to cinema. Accordingly, those working in this genre are often both artist and musician, a double role that represents a radical departure from the artist/musician divide of many other audio-visual genres. Because it is single authored, video installation can invert many elements of the filmmaking process: while it is common procedure to add a soundtrack to film during post-production, for instance, many video artists use sound as their starting point, often basing whole works on a musical structure. While such an inversion invites reconsideration of musical audibility and film narrative, video work, when installed, also challenges the notions of screen space and realism. An audience is no longer offered the single-point perspective of film, but is instead enveloped within a three-dimensional space. And as image expands beyond the four sides of the cinema screen – a space occupied previously by music alone – important questions are raised: what happens to music when film breaks from the containment of the screen? when it destroys its own boundaries? Focusing on the work of Bill Viola, this paper explores the ways in which video installation art confronts methods of film exhibition and audience engagement, and investigates how such confrontation redefines the roles of music and image in film.

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Date Deposited:

16 Dec 2015 10:58

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 09:52

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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