On view at LACMA for the first time in almost 20 years, Slowly Turning Narrative (1992) is a room-sized video installation by Bill Viola in the museum’s collection. An acknowledged pioneer of video art, Viola was crucial in establishing video as a major medium in contemporary art. Slowly Turning Narrative offers Viola’s characteristically hypnotic sense of wonderment at the world and also reveals the fullness of his philosophical vision.
Slowly Turning Narrative includes two projections on a large central rotating screen. One presents images of virtually everything that constitutes life, embracing the broadest sweep from birth to death. The other shows a close-up of Viola’s head incanting “the one who lives,” “the one who acts,” “the one who reads,” and more. As this screen rotates, a mirror on the back comes into view, reflecting the image of the viewer in this video evocation of human existence.