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Bill Viola
«Video Black – The Mortality of the Image»


[...] Still, the question remains, exactly what is this movement in the moving image? Clearly it is more than the frenetic animation of bodies. Hollis Frampton, the great American avant-garde filmmaker, described it as «the mimesis, incarnation, and bodying forth of the movement of human consciousness itself.» The root of the cinematic process remained the still picture, but images now had behavior, and the entire phenomenon began to resemble less material objects depicted and more the process of the mind that was moving them.
A thought is a functionof time, a pattern of growth, and not the «thing» that the lens of the printed word seems to objectify. lt is more like a cloud than a rock, although its effects can be just as long lasting as a block of stone, and its aging subject to the similar processes of destructive erosion and constructive edification. Duration is the medium that makes thought possible, and therefore duration is to consciousness as light is to the eye.
Time itself has become the materia prima of the art of the moving image. The «unsticking» of the image in time has been a gradual process, and ist effects are permeating art and culture in the late twentieth century, moving beyond the domain of conventional cinematic form and serving to dislodge the dominant compositional model of the dramatic narrative (based on Aristotele´s theories of 400 B.C.). This chapter in art history will potentially be as significant as the introduction of three-dimensional space originally was to painting. No doubt the first examples of time-based visual art in the twenties century will be regarded by future observers as being clumsy and childlike, much in the same way that the modern eye tends to see the medieval painter's first attempts at three-dimensional representation.

Source: Doug Hall, Sally Jo Fifer (Hg.), Illuminationg Video. An Essential Guide to Video Art, Aperture Foundation, New York 1990, p. 482.