Answer Me

Anri Sala
March 28 – April 25, 2009

Exhibition view: Anri Sala, Answer me, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, 2009 

Photo © Sebastian Schobbert

Answer Me, 2008
HD Video, color, stereo
Duration 4:50 min

Video still © Anri Sala 
Answer Me, 2008
HD Video, color, stereo
Duration 4:50 min

Video still © Anri Sala 
Answer Me, 2008
HD Video, color, stereo
Duration 4:50 min

Video still © Anri Sala 
Answer Me, 2008
HD Video, color, stereo
Duration 4:50 min

Video still © Anri Sala 
Answer Me, 2008
HD Video, color, stereo
Duration 4:50 min

Video still © Anri Sala

Answer Me

Anri Sala
Johnen Galerie, Berlin
March 28 – April 25, 2009
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Answer Me was shot in Teufelsberg, which means “Devil’s mountain” in German. It’s a very singular place, atop a hill made from the rubble of postwar Berlin, under which another building, a military-technical college designed by Albert Speer, is buried. During the cold war, a listening station was built on top of the hill to monitor Soviet and East German communications.

The film is based on a dialogue from a note that Michelangelo Antonioni wrote on the
breakdown of a couple, where he wanted “to shoot not their conversation but their silences, silence as a negative dimension of speech”. A woman tries to end a relationship: “It’s over, admit it. That way everything will be out in the open and we’ll know what to do.” Her companion refuses to listen and plays the drums fiercly. She keeps on asking "answer me!" At times we hear it, at times we only see her lips phrasing it, her voice silenced by his drumming. 

Due to the echo produced by the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller, drumsticks resting on a vacant drum next to her, play to the echo of his drumming. The skin of the vacant drum vibrates and responds to the frequencies of his playing. Amplified by the dome, those frequencies cause the drumsticks to bounce creating not only an audible but also a visible echo. He refuses to listen and plays the drums blocking her voice from reaching him while at the same time “crossing” the space and coming close to her via those frequencies. 

In Answer Me, I was interested to bring Antonioni’s exchange under the physical influence of the building. Is it a monologue? Or is his drumming the other half of a dialogue, of which we only “understand” the part made of words? 

– Anri Sala 

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