HD Video (color, sound)
Anna (2011) takes its name from the main character in Leo Tolstoy’s realist masterpiece Anna Karenina. Though Anna is not directly represented, the societal conflict and personal desperation she experiences is acutely embodied in a cast of dismembered and dejected figurative sculptures. These androgynous effigies move through states of disorientation, hostility and playfulness, bound by communal acts of labor. Stop motion sequences shot in the studio are layered with superimposed scenes from the Soviet socialist realist film Earth (1930) and computer simulations of crowd movement, figuratively projecting ideas of mass politicization onto artificial constructions of the pastoral and rural. In Anna, the social and ecological ethos of Tolstoyan philosophy is construed to reveal romanticized notions of both rural and urban working class communities in the Realist tradition, and a similarly nostalgic longing for the agrarian in America. Tolstoy’s own ascetic beliefs were arguably rooted in his own privileged class consciousness, a problematic that draws parallels with collectivist-counter cultural movements of the 1960s, the back to the land movement of the 1980s, and recent trends in urban farming and homesteading.