Bill Morrison2006

Trained as a painter, Bill Morrison works from multiple sources including newsreel outtakes, educational films, and his own cinematography. An archaeologist of distressed and decayed archival footage, he fashions it into new work which both serves to reanimate the past and to draw an analogy between the fragile and ephemeral nature of celluloid and human mortality. Highly performative, the work draws on activities and materials of music and live theatre. His film Decasia was conceived as a live multidisciplinary event to be seen on three enormous screens with fifty-five musicians behind them performing an original symphony by composer Michael Gordon. Independent collaboration with multiple artists—à la Cage and Cunningham—is a core part of his practice. He has created projected set work for the experimental performance ensemble Ridge Theatre for more than a decade. What he calls his “house of ideas,” the reoccurring imagery that populates his work, may be seen as a personal and hypnotic archive.

"I am interested in Cinema as a model for our capacity as humans to record, store and recall images. My work deals with the passage of time, both on a historical and immediate level and I draw on a variety of sources, including original footage and archival material. Hopefully viewers become engaged with the images from the past and brought into the subtext of the film, while also aware that they are watching a film in the present. I am continuing to develop the means by which these two competing realities co-exist. I am trying to straddle subject and object, shot and found, truth and fiction. I hope to bring audiences into new and challenging states of viewership."