… It is the time of an unfinished thought, the time that the painter must go through (not the painting itself) …
This is from Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994 by Bill Viola (1995). Each of the below are from different ‘notes’ or essays:
… In my work I have most strongly been aware of the camera as representation of point of view –point of consciousness. Point of view, perceptual location in a space, can be point of consciousness. But I have been interested in how we can move this point of consciousness over and through our bodies and out over the things of the world. I especially identify with artist’s like Rilke’s, location of this point out over the vastness and tremendous distances of open space — it is hard to locate his point of view in the poems if you are looking for it in the usual places. I want to make my camera become the air itself. To become the substance of time and the mind.
… Just glance at an object as you pass it by. This is the physical realm — we avoid bumping into things when in this mode, without really thinking about them. But then grab an object with your eye and stare at it for a long time. It gradually takes over your psyche and becomes your thoughts. This is why duration is an important element in my work — cultivating the ability to see “through” objects.
… Rumi, encouraging his students to penetrate beneath the many forms of surface appearance in this world, often used to scream at them and say, “Break the wineglass and fall towards the glassblower’s breath!”
… Once involved with time, it becomes clear that one must also embrace the first stages of an insight as being just as important as the insight itself. This is the state of confusion, unclarity, non-understanding that precedes all creative breakthroughs. It is the time of an unfinished thought, the time that the painter must go through (not the painting itself), the time behind the façade of all great discoveries. The still turbulence of being up alone working at three-thirty in the morning.