Ekphrasis on Bill Viola’s piece The Sleep of Reason

Watching this makes me wonder how time is experienced when it isn’t being thought about. The time on the clock is constantly visible to the spectators, yet never acknowledged by the characters. It is the only light in the room that is always fixed, every other light and image is being changed back and forth without any indication of what will rapidly be shown next. Before I can tell what I’m seeing, it flicks away and I’m left waiting for the next one. This makes me think that the space is not meant for viewing but for experiencing: a space for thoughts. Is it paradoxical to create videos not meant for viewing? Then nothing is telling you what to experience, or how you should. I wonder what my pupils look like while I’m watching this, I can feel them adjusting every time the images change to the walls and back to the TV. And I have as little control of this as I do on my surroundings. What am I, if I don’t have full control over the movement of my own body?


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