A young woman gazes out at an idle airfield. Newly trained as air traffic controller, she is on duty at Magdeburg-Cochstedt International, a former Russian airbase about two hours from Berlin. Though fully updated in 2010 and ready for traffic, by winter 2013 it still had no scheduled commercial flights. Filmed on location with the control tower as stage, Anna repeats phrases and air-to-ground command rituals in a scripted performance of readiness for what will come, and to pass the time. As artist Lynne Marsh notes, Anna’s monologue “conjures a hallucinatory narrative choreography of flights. The work relays a sense of absence, latency and speculation as a way of describing an unsettled political landscape.”
In the three sequences – day, dusk and night – the camera alternates between Anna and the empty landscape, as weather changes, lights appear and an image of the future coalesces in the playing out of actions.
Anna and the Tower interrogates ongoing changes in Germany as the former “East” merges with the economy and norms of Western Europe. It also speaks to the project that is Europe. The video suspends ordinary time through projection and prediction, setting productive forces into motion with the desire to shape reality. Anna’s isolation is infused with optimism for an uncertain future.