Video Art and the Evolution of Games

November 17, 2008

Bill Viola is an artist who works in video. I have seen a number of his works in museum shows and have invariably been entranced and enraptured. All the pieces I have seen are large, room-filling works that include human figures and natural elements in motion and with sound. To witness his work is akin to walking into a waking dream. There are quite a few videos of his work here on YouTube.

One year ago, on November 16, 2007, I wrote about a discussion I attended on Visual Literacy. I touched on the need for videos and video games that would be enriching. I just discovered the availability of these videos on line and, to my surprise, a video game.

Bill Viola's video game, The Night Journey, embedded below from YouTube, is a video game/art project based on the universal story of an individual mystic's journey toward enlightenment. It is inspired by "the lives and writings of great historical figures including: Rumi, the 13th century Islamic poet and mystic; Ryokan, the 18th century Zen Buddhist poet; St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish mystic and poet; and Plotinus, the 3rd century philosopher" and "attempts to evoke in the player's mind a sense of the archetypal journey of enlightenment through the "mechanics" of the game experience". 



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