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Bill Viola: The Raft, Exit Text

The decision to show Bill Viola’s The Raft was made in the fall of 2018. At the time, Chazen staff saw the video installation as a potential response to the flooding that occurred in Madison during the summer of 2018, and the way the community came together to overcome the natural disaster. Great and thought-provoking artworks often take on new meanings during their lifetimes, even ones not originally intended by their creators. Over the course of 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing strength of the Black Lives Matter movement, we know that this artwork may gain different interpretations. Still relevant to all of these, however, is Viola’s message that to build resilience and survive trauma, we must join together and support one another.