Anthem – Bill Viola (1983)
A young girl in a white dress screams as she stands in the central hall of Union Station in Los Angeles. The original scream of a few seconds is extended and shifted in time to produce a primitive “scale” of tones that constitutes the soundtrack of the piece. Images of an ancient forest, the desolate urban landscape, the mechanics of heavy industry, the technology of surgery, the human body, and the leisure culture of southern California reveal their relation to our deep primal fears of illness, mortality, darkness, and the separation of the material body from its spiritual base.
These are mnesic images, “all centered on the theme of primitive fear of the dark, materialism and the harmful separation of body and mind” (Bill Viola).