The Porcupine and the Car

Summary Senses are key in the way humans interact with the world. The way we analyze and create information is associated with the way our senses process this information. Our senses can also be seen as limiters, however, because they are responsible for filtering the information that we can take in. There is an enormous amount of information in the world, and for us as humans to make sense of it, our senses help us perceive it in a certain way. This can include the way we develop patterns in the way we experience the things we see or hear. Film and video are very different mediums. Whereas film has a very finished and constructed quality, video aims to have little difference from reality. As video develops, it aims to eliminate the difference between reality and the outcome based on the tool it actually uses to record. As video first started to develop, many artists felt the need to record everything, as this would be the best representation of reality. This art now grows, and as tools/technology becomes even more sophisticated, outcomes of the videos and audio become so real it is almost equal to the reality from which it was taken from. The products of video are almost becoming a part of the way we think. Since digital tools have progressed so much, there is little need now for manual manipulation.  This includes the manual editing of film strips that used to be necessary. This leads to the idea that modern artists do not only have to draw well, but think well. Video has also become much more widely accessible, and since the painstaking process of manually editing has been eliminated, the amount of individual “creativity” it allows has been expanded. Though this is so, there are implications in the medium’s disconnect with reality.

Toys today are filled with so many gadgets, and so much new technology that it eliminates the need for imagination. When these people grow up, they will be so used to all of the solutions being given to them that they will ask questions like “what is this” and “what does this mean” constantly, instead of accepting the mystery, and opening up to the challenge. Video is a powerful tool, as powerful and diverse as pen and paper. People now know as little about the possibilities of pen and paper as people 100 years now will know about a video recorder. The understanding of the people using technology is lacking. The person using the tool understands so little about it that it limits its creative possibilities and artistic potential. People are so obsessed with the fashion of the newest gadgets and the most effective tools that there is little room for people to thoroughly understand the purpose and possibilities of the pieces of technology they use.

The difference in perspective and reality of individual experiences are shown in the interaction with the porcupine. As the car stops in the middle of the road, and slowly turns off the lights and then the engine, it is as if the porcupine walks away proudly thinking it has shocked the big metal beast. Even though this machine is a manmade creation, it is significant that a part of nature can be affected by it without knowing the difference. Viola, Bill. “The Porcupine and the Car” in Bill Viola: Reasons for Knocking At An Empty House Writings 1973-1994, pp.1-14. 1995 Thames and Hudson.

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