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Ryan Trecartin

Ryan Trecartin

Trecartin creates rich, layered videos aimed at the generations who have grown up with social media and constant screen interaction.  His work looks at how the internet has changed the way we communicate with each other: the consumption of imagery and the disposable nature of statements made online.

They are brash and trashy, he uses models and amateur actors to chant nonsensical soundbites, there is no real narrative, just a bombardment of colour, symbolism and noise.

Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist is a Swiss video artist whose work looks at issues of the human body, gender and sexuality. Much of her work is richly coloured and joyful, borrowing from the styles of mass media and the MTV generation.  She also uses humour is her image making.

She often incorporates her videos into sculpture and installations, projecting films into unexpected spaces, through small holes. The scale can be huge or minute.  Domestic settings are used to bring the fiction of screen into personal surroundings.

Pixelwald (Pixelforest), 2016

Enlight My Space [Erleuchte (und klaere) meinen Raum], 2008

Selbstlos im Lavabad (Selfless In The Bath Of Lava), 2011 is a video of Rist herself, naked and dancing in a projected pool of lava. She shouts up to the viewer “I am a worm and you are a flower”.  The video is played through a tiny hole in the floor.

Ginas Mobile, 2007 – projects a close up film of female genitalia onto a mobile balanced with a copper sphere.

Bill Viola

Bill Viola

Bill Viola is a pioneer of video art, one of the first artists to really exploit the medium.  His work is often very spiritual, confronting the big universal ideas of birth, death, love and redemption.

His work is mostly figurative, using simplified scenes to direct attention to the narrative.  The lighting is often very focused and water and slow motion recur through his work.  As a child he fell from a raft and was submerged underwater, he opened his eyes and witnessed the light shining through the water which has fed his obsession with water and light in his films.

The Raft (2004) explores the collective experience of natural disasters and war.  A group of 19 people of varying ages, race and religion are battered by torrents of water.  The effect is brutal but not harmful. The water stops and people reach out to one another some embrace.  The piece is a metaphor for how lives are suddenly torn apart but continue in one way or another after these horrific events.

Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) (2014) is an installation commissioned by St Pauls Cathedral consisting of four screens, each displaying  a person undergoing a form of torture and thus being martyred.

The artists gave “visitors and worshipers a dramatic visual contemplation on life, death, and the afterlife, as well as the human capacity to endure hardship in the name of faith.”


Much of his work is exhibited alone, in bare dark rooms to focus attention on his pieces.  He does also incorporate video into installation such as The Sleepers (1992) in which video screens were submerged into metal barrels filled with water.