Bill Viola at East Carlton Countryside Park

As part of our 2021 exhibition Where to Stand in the Wind, Fermynwoods brought the work of internationally celebrated video and installation artist Bill Viola to East Carlton Countryside Park. Whilst the exhibition will soon close, his innovative video game The Night Journey will remain on site as a gift to the community of North Northamptonshire.

The Night Journey (2007-2018), a collaboration between Bill Viola and the Game Innovation Lab, was one of the first experimental art games ever made. It uses both game and video techniques to tell the universal story of an individual’s journey towards enlightenment. There is no one path to take, no single goal to achieve, but the player’s actions will reflect on themselves and the world, transforming and changing them both.

The game is available online to play at home, but as part of Fermynwoods’s aim to bring art to people in unexpected places, guest curator Yasmin Canvin and the team constructed a traditional arcade housing for the experience. This arcade game artwork will remain at the ground level of the public building structure at East Carlton Countryside Park, meaning those out for a walk and a chat can also interact with one of the world’s leading contemporary artist’s works last major show in Britain was at the Royal Academy in London, where his powerful installations were shown along rare drawings by Michelangelo.

Bill Viola is internationally recognised as one of today’s leading artists. He has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art, and in so doing has helped to greatly expand its scope in terms of technology, content, and historical reach. For 40 years he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast. Viola’s video installations – total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound – employ state-of-the-art technologies and are distinguished by their precision and direct simplicity. They are shown in museums and galleries worldwide and are found in many distinguished collections.

This presentation of The Night Journey was funded by The Compton Fund.