Time bending backwards – and a 50ft wall of fire

viola_fire_woman.jpgVideo artist Bill Viola uses the elements on an epic scale to catch the essence of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. He explains his work to Martin Gayford [Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2006]
When Bill Viola first sat down to listen to a recording of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, he had an unpleasant surprise. “I was just in shock,” says the renowned video artist when we meet amid the banks of flickering equipment of a Hollywood editing suite. “There were people just shrieking at the tops of their voices and bombastic music. It felt like one huge tsunami of ego. I thought, ‘My God, what did I get myself into?'”