Anna Ådahl



Adversary (2010)
Video and sound installation
Video film (in process)

Scenes for video and sound installation.


Adversary focuses on the relationship between the individual and the crowd. The film and video installation is based on extracts from a number of classics from the history of cinema: scenes where the protagonist is placed in a crowd situation. The extracts are drawn from five films: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Roberto Rossellini’s Viaggio in Italia (1954), Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Michelangelo Antonioni’s Eclisse (1962), and Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965). In Adversary, Ådahl dissects these scenes by singling out one actor, removing the scenery, other actors and extras, as well as music, diegetic sounds, and dialogs, leaving only the protagonist, surrounded by an absent crowd. Ådahl has then asked the actor Livia Millhagen to re-enact these scenes alone in an empty white space. The dialoges are later added, using a male voice-over. With its strict rules, this process of dissection and re-enactment itself becomes a performative work for the artist and her collaborators. Adversary is made in two versions: one film version, which consists of a montage of the reenacted scenes, and one installation, where the process of dissection and re-enactment is rendered visible and operative in the space: the film is projected on a screen, next to which a plasma screen is placed, featuring a montage of the original scenes; a centrally placed loudspeaker transmits the sounds of the actor during the re-enactment; surrounding speakers transmit the ambient sounds from the space in which the re-enactment was shot; and a separate speaker placed next to the spectator bench transmits the voice-over with the dialogs from the original scenes. For Ådahl, the process of dissection and re-enactment constitutes an attempt to grasp the essence of the gestures of the individual in the given context. It also aims to examine the work of fiction related to the specific relationships between crowd and individual; as well as to analyze the directorial work in the separate scenes, with their different camera angles, framings, cuts, and gestures.

Reference films, extracted scenes from Alphaville by Jean-Luc Godard; Metropolis by Fritz Lang; Eclipse by Michelangelo Antonioni; Viaggio in Italia by Roberto Rosselini and Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Don Siegel.