The images for Night Vigil are derived from a production of Richard Wagner’s nineteenth-century opera Tristan und Isolde, a collaboration with director Peter Sellars, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bill Viola and executive producer Kira Perov (video, 2004-2005). The original story of Tristan and Isolde is a mythic tale of a love so intense and profound that it cannot be contained in the material bodies of the lovers. In order to fulfill their desires, the two must ultimately transcend life itself to arrive at a realm beyond all polarities of light and darkness, male and female, life and death, time and eternity.
The installation Night Vigil is a rear-projected video diptych on two adjacent screens. In the video sequence a woman and a man, separated by darkness in the middle of the night, are drawn to each other and to the source of light that illuminates their longing. They undertake individual journeys to reach their goal: his, an outward journey of action–the long approach through the dark night into the light of a blazing fire, and hers, an inward journey of contemplation—the methodical lighting of a bank of candles until the darkness of her room is filled with light. Although solitary and separate, the destinations of their individual journeys are the same—the merging of their individual selves in a world beyond death.