Anri Sala: Answer Me consists of three floors exploring the relationship between sound, architecture, and politics. Sala has a deep understanding of the cultural and symbolic values imbued in architecture. Raised in pre- and post-Communist Albania, where poverty and war have decayed buildings and destroyed public space, Sala’s early works drive through Albania’s desolate streetscapes of strange and intermittent noises.
The relationships between sounds in a public space is further explored through five video works looped on either side of a screen that bifurcates a large room. Each film intersects space, body, sound, and culture, and the audio from each film bleeds to the other side: two works fighting for presence. The muddled soundscape reflects the war torn architecture of the films. Conversely, two later works play in separate screening rooms, the only works housed in sound-proofed spaces. Both works combine multiple recordings of the same song into one film, revealing the looseness of each recording in its inability to synchronize, heightened by the related works’ spatial separation into two sonic hemispheres.
Answer Me grounds Sala’s work in terms of acoustic politics. The politics of space is understood when sound is spatially controlled, mixed, and materialized. These haptically understood conditions expose relations in public political space: sometimes violent, sometimes messy, sometimes alone.