AKM - Turkish Nights


Video Installation (12min)

Medium: 4k Video, 5.1 Sound
Director: Philipp Lachenmann
Produced by: Villa Tarabya / Göthe Institute
Sound Design, Score, Mix: Anders Ehlin

The multichannel sound work for AKM Turkish Nights was commissioned by Philipp Lachenmann in 2018 for its premiere at the collective exhibition of Tarabya Cultural Academy, held at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. The piece was further exhibited at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin during the Studio Bosporus Festival in 2021.

During the Gezi protests in 2013, the dilapidated Atatürk Kültür Merkezi, or the AKM, became a site of resistance and heavy political uprisings due to the escalating political situation. With the digital-cinematic implementation of a politically charged, fantastic-psychedelic play of colors, Lachenmann brings the building, which was demolished only days after the shooting, to brief “splendid life” for one last time.

Siding with its visual aspirations, Ehlin starts the piece by the deconstruction of the aria ”Il dolce Suono” (The sweet sound) from Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lamermor, to sonically and textually further strengthen the notion of its last reawakening before its final demise. The piece brings to life the memory of the hundreds of opera and classical music performances which took place in the building since its construction. Drifting in and out of a twilight zone between musical composition and sound design the melancholic lamenting of the sound which is no more is taken over by a previously composed choir piece by Ehlin, Dehonestamentum. The piece rather tackles the topic from an angered place of disgrace (thereof the title) towards the building’s history, its heritage and ambitions to cater for cross cultural interactions, mirroring how Istanbul through the centuries has been a social and cultural hub of coexistence. Subsequentially we are visually and sonically warped through space-time only to arrive at a disjointed solo violin desperately stuttering while trying to follow an arbitrary dance of lights and colors across the naked concrete structures; a reminder that the house and much of its aspirations are not only relegated to history, but its very rationale crumbled into nonsensical pieces. Followingly the viewer gets succumbed under water, a returning metaphor of the way certain events and experiences of collective and historical significance get drowned out, to leave curated echoes remaining in a new reality with new reference points, new rhetorics and logic built on appropriated shards of the past.