"Ghostgames", 2002 (Video on DVD, 9'15'')
Anri Sala, born in Tirina, Albania, in 1974, left his home country for Paris in 1996 and today lives and works in Berlin. The exhibited installation, "GHOSTGAMES", is one of Anri Sala's few video pieces in which a plot-like sequence of images is shown. Generally, his videos are more or less static, concentrating primarily on one scene, e.g. "Intervista", 1998, in which his mother talks about her political past, or "Time after Time", 2004, in which the camera is trained on a horse standing on a roadside at night while the traffic rushes by. In his earlier videos, Sala adopts an almost historical/documentary approach to political and societal situations, both in his native Albania and elsewhere. In "Ghost Games", the viewer is confronted by an interplay of light and dark, crabs wandering around aimlessly on a nocturnal beach, people torn between fascination and repulsion. The spooky movements of the so-called "ghost crabs" and the flickering light of the flashlights together create a kind of creepy suspense. The camera works at close quarters, giving no information about the location and surroundings. Only slowly do we realize that we are watching a game in which the players have to chase a crab between the legs of their opponents. Anri Sala says: "...in Ghost Games the scene with crabs on a beach at night definitely has more to do with games than with narrative. Games create territory and action, relations and scenarios but no narratives..." (in: Talk with Jörg Heiser and Jan Verwoert, Frieze, No. 84, 2004) and "In my work I am interested in those areas where culture and nature meet, where the regular meets the haphazard, where the rational meets the irrational, where the wish for control meets the wish for loss of control or for the unintentional." (in: Interview with Lynne Cook, Parkett 73, 2005).