In 1999 I was visiting San Francisco and happened upon a retrospective of Bill Viola ( at the SFMOMA ( As a side note, the SFMOMA is one of my favorite West Coast art museums; they curate some of the most interesting shows and their brilliance of layout and hanging is worth the visit as well.

OK, back to Bill Viola. All I needed to do was spend an entire day experiencing Viola's video installations to add him to my list of favorites and fall in love with his work. I remember sitting in on the first video of the retrospective. This piece was the only one set up like a traditional theater - chairs and a screen in front. The film started and all you saw was a barren snow scape and the audio was of a sharp crisp wind blowing. After about 2 minutes you could see a small speck of black slowly bouncing in the distance and in the middle of the screen. Another 3 minutes pass, the speck is getting larger but not buy much. Finally, I believe after about 10 minutes, you could barely make out that the speck is a man walking towards the camera, post-holing through the snow. He gets closer and the film gets longer and then it ends with the man still so far in the distance that your curiosity of what he looks likes is not fulfilled.

A brilliant film in my book. So, I couldn't help but think about him while filming Ben, Ryan, Dan, and Cole on this long stretch of road near Annette, CA.


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