re-visiting Viola

We were in at the NGV yesterday, and popped in to see Bill Viola’s ‘Ocean without a shore’ installation again… it was still lovely. I really like that it’s not in the contemporary art section, but that you have to walk through the Greek and Egyptian antiquities section…

Craig responded to my last post about this by saying that it’s a good thing to use the installation to talk about baptism and death and things like that – and he’s right. Of course it’s fabulous to use things of culture to bring the great christian themes to life… it’s brilliant, and the more it happens the better. I’m working on a workshop for Thursday, and half the material is about that…

I do hope though that it doesn’t end there. I know this is more about the space i’m in at the moment [i don’t spend a lot of time talking with christians], but i’m really interested in exploring how someone outside the church interprets ‘Ocean without a shore’… Sometimes we’re so grateful for things that we can use in a christian context that we forget they have meaning outside our context that perhaps is worth exploring. What does ‘Oceans without a shore’ say to people who aren’t christian about life and grief and death and transcendence and reality [and whatever else?]… What do they do with the emotions that it evokes? And then if we’re going to use it, how do we shape worship or sacred spaces to honour and speak into those emotions and experiences, not just describe our own story?

I’m not sure I’m explaining that very well yet.

Watching yesterday, we were sitting next to these two men. The four of us were the only ones there, and after about 30 minutes, one of the men got up and went to leave the room. ‘Too fucking beautiful’, he said as he walked out. ‘It’s too fucking beautiful…’


  1. Cynthia

    I think u r explaining it just fine Cheryl and I like what u r saying about honouring the reactions of all and giving all people space to deal with their issues. Looking forward to more from you on Thursday. I love the man’s response too.

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