Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House

From Writing Art

Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House

Writings 1973-1994

By Bill Viola

Edited by Robert Violette





Chosen to represent the United States at the 46th Venice Biennale, Bill Viola, a New York artist living on the West Coast, is recognized internationally for his work in video and sound installations. This book brings together a selection of essays, notebook entries, drawings, and descriptions of projects that map Viola's personal course through the readings, observations, experiments, and associations that form the groundwork for his art. Each work illustrated is accompanied by a description by the artist, as well as comments on the work's origins from the artist's notebooks.

For the last 25 years, Viola has used innovative multimedia technologies to explore the phenomena of sense perception as a language of the body and avenue to self-knowledge, integrating many disciplines and philosophies to reveal contemporary art's relevance to the modern world. His views have deep roots in mysticism, poetry, philosophy, Eastern art, shamanism, Chinese Taoism, Sufism, and Zen Buddhism. Viola's chief concerns today are to draw attention to the upset ecological balance of nature by focusing on the connection between our inner and outer lives, on the conception of the self as part of the whole.

Published in association with the Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London.


$24.95 T ISBN: 9780262720250 304 pp. | 6.375 in x 9.25 in 90 B&W illus.


Robert Violette

Robert Violette is a publisher and editor based in London.


  • The larger struggle we are witnessing today...[is] an ecological drama where the outcome rests not only on our realization that the natural physical environment is one and the same as our bodies, but that nature itself is a form of Mind.

    Bill Viola