Anri Sala: The Last Resort

The Artwork

Using the L-ISA Processor to spatialize the musical content, Anri Sala delights his audience with the audio-visual installation ‘The Last Resort’ in Sydney. Installed in a quintessential British bandstand, instruments are suspended from the ceiling rather than on the stage: 38 snare drums, suspended from the rotunda’s dome with mirrored surfaces facing down, contain speakers from which music and vibratory frequencies emanate.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Clarinet concerto in A major, K. 622, composed in 1791, provided the starting point for Sala’s arrangement. The concerto was recombined with notations about wind conditions from James Bell’s 1839 journal documenting the crossing from London to Australia according to a precise methodology devised by Sala.

Musicians disposed in a formation loosely based on the seating arrangement of an orchestra performed the rearranged composition simultaneously, captured by multiple microphones. The resulting work is one that has weathered a journey across the world, having been turned upside-down in the process.

The Artist

Anri Sala, the subject of a major career survey at New York’s New Museum in 2016,  is best known for works that engage with social and political histories. For the last 15 or so years, he’s been increasingly interested in music and sound as psychologically charged mediums for evoking and reinterpreting the past; for example, his 2013 Venice Biennale exhibition Ravel Ravel Unravel; and his 2014 video installation ‘The Present Moment (in B-flat)’.

  • October – November 2017
  • Observatory Hill, Sydney