Skip to page content

About this Piece

Created: 2014
Length: 8:22 minutes
Composition: Color High-Definition video projection; stereo sound with subwoofer

Performer: Norman Scott

Production credits, core creative team:
Executive producer: Kira Perov
Producer: Genevieve Anderson
Director of photography: Harry Dawson
Special effects supervisor: Giuliano Fiumani
Chief lighting technician: Bobby Wotherspoon
Technical director: Alex MacInnis
Editor and colorist: Brian Pete
Sound designer: Mikael Sandgren
Bill Viola Studio technical director: Bobby Jablonski

Thanks to James Cohan Gallery, New York

This presentation of Inverted Birth is dedicated to Norman Scott, who passed away suddenly on April 17, 2016. He was exceptionally talented and creative and will be greatly missed.

Projected onto a large vertical screen anchored to the floor, Inverted Birth depicts five stages of awakening through a series of violent transformations.

A man stands in the darkness, drenched in black fluid, the sound of drips punctuating the hollow sound of an empty space. Gradually the fluid begins to rise and as the movement escalates, the flow upward becomes a roaring deluge. The dark despair of black turns to fear as the liquid changes to red but the man remains strong. With the flow of white liquid comes relief and nurturing, followed by the purification of cleansing water. Finally, a soft mist brings acceptance, awakening, and birth. The fluids represent the essence of human life: earth, blood, milk, water, and air, and the life cycle from birth to death, here inverted into a transformation from darkness to light.

— Bill Viola