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M. Leary

Bill Viola is going to church...

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That's a good question. I did attend a church for several years that pretty much doubled as an art gallery. Several times we had video installations that would hit your peripheral vision while sitting in the service and it wasn't distracting at all, especially when thematically related to the sermon. But they certainly weren't at Viola levels of complexity, so that may be a different scenario.

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then again, i've been as easily distracted by any number of things during a service: something outside the window, the music, the preaching, my shoe, my wife, something on stage, other people in the congregation, my children...

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: I adore Viola's art but wonder if the motion would be distracting during services.

I used to get this complaint years ago when I used to show bits of videos (including some of Viola's) during our worship, and I never really got that point. If it helps you focus on / appreciate God how is it a distraction? In fact (though I never voiced this) I used to wonder what was the bigger distraction. A profound and meaningful piece of film art or the banal music and Jesus-is-my-girlfriend lyrics of the song that was being sung at the time.

I think what really got me was when it became clear they ultimately wanted something pretty but meaningless - worship eye candy if you will. Because it seems to me that something meaningful, with some sense of connectedness that you might give your time to, might distract you from the singing, but only in order to help you connect to God in a different way. But if a video is just meaningless eye candy then that IS distracting.

Anyway, putting aside my issues, this sounds cool. I suspect that at some point in 2011 my wife and/or I will be making a trip south.

Matt

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I have only seen a couple of his pieces in person and the ones I saw (I think they were typical of his work) the movement is so slow that it is almost imperceptible. They seem to be very meditative and contemplative and not distracting. I always wanted to see the ones where the angelic creatures suddenly appeared in fire and water.

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