I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like

1986, 89 min, color, sound

One of the major works in video, I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like envisions an epic quest for transcendence and self-knowledge. Viola describes this work as a "personal investigation of the inner states and connections to animal consciousness we all carry within." The title is taken from the Rig-Veda, the Sanskrit spiritual text that defines a procession through birth, consciousness, primordial existence, intuition, knowledge, rational thought, and faith, to arrive at a transcendent reality "beyond the laws of physics." Unfolding in powerful, emblematic images and allegorical passages, Viola articulates a dramatic quest for self-knowledge through an awareness of the Other, embodied here by a shamanistic vision of animal consciousness.

Structured in five parts, Il Corpo Scuro (The Dark Body), The Language of the Birds, The Night of Sense, Stunned by the Drum, and The Living Flame, the tape envisions a metaphysical journey of rational and intuitive thought, from the natural world to spiritual rituals. Viola's poetic investigation of subject and object, observing and being observed, and his search for knowledge of the self is encapsulated in an indelible visual metaphor: an image of the artist reflected in the pupil of an owl's eye.

Additional Camera/Production Assistance/Still Photographer: Kira Perov. Engineering: Tom Piglin. Produced in association with the American Film Institute, Los Angeles; The Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund, a project of the WGBH New Television Workshop, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and ZDF, Mainz, West Germany.

 
 

SCREENING REQUIREMENTS for museum or gallery presentation:

The video should be presented as cinema. Projection in a dedicated, darkened gallery is strongly preferred. Accompanying floor plans and technical specifications regarding projection equipment is appreciated. Videos must be shown in original 4:3 aspect ratio, either using projector settings, as available, or pillarboxed with black masking.

Seating must be provided for the audience, and works must be shown according to a published schedule, not presented as an automatically repeating loop. Works cannot be incorporated into looping programs with other titles. Audio must be handled through a separate stereo sound system (amplifier and two speakers).

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Ordering & Fees

  
Educational Rental
DVD NTSC
$125.00
 
Screening Rental
DVD NTSC
$200.00
 
Digital File
$260.00
 
BetaSP, DVcam, MiniDV NTSC
$275.00
 
BetaSP, DVcam, MiniDV PAL
$650.00
 
Exhibition Rental
DVD NTSC
$1,100.00
 
Digital File
$1,160.00
 
Educational Purchase
DVD NTSC
$500.00
 
Archival Purchase
Digital Beta NTSC
$1,975.00