Bill Viola

Ocean Without a Shore - Bill Viola

'The Self is an ocean without a shore. Gazing upon it has no beginning or end, in this world and the next.'
Ibn Arabi (b.1165-1240)
These words from a poem by Andalusian mystic, Ibn Arabi inspired video artist, Bill Viola to create his work Ocean Without a Shore, presented at the Venice Biennale in 2007. I would have loved to have seen this amazing video installation exploring death and the afterlife in person. The symbol of threshold is represented by an incredible 'waterwall'. I often see this threshold to the otherworld as a waterfall. Bill Viola talks beautifully below about the people who took part in the piece and the stories that began to unfold naturally about their own experiences of visitations from loved ones after they had passed. 
'it's a piece about humanity. About the fragility of life, the borderline between life and death is actually not a hard wall. It's not to be opened with a lock and key, it's actually very fragile, very tenuous and you can cross it - like that in an instant... I think just the nature of the awareness of death is one the things that in any culture makes human beings have that profound feeling of what we call the human condition.' Bill Viola