Xoán Anleo

A simple action, like going down the stairs of one’s flat, can become a nightmare given the frequency with which we forget things, which forces us to go back up (to then go down, realise something has been forgotten, and go back up again).

A man in a suit leaves his flat - old door, wooden staircase -, and when he has gone down two sets of stairs he realises that he has forgotten something. He goes back up, opens the door with his key and enters the flat. Short fade to black and the man leaves again, he goes down the stairs, and again realises that he has forgotten something. He goes back up again, goes into his flat, fade to black and the action starts again. Each sequence has three cuts, two are due to the change of frame necessary in order to include the whole of the staircase, and the third, with the fade to black, is the one which opens the new sequence of action. All the sequences are different, in the way that the man puts his jacket on, in his gestures when he realises he has forgotten something, and in the way he looks in his pockets for the key to open the door.

Being such a common act, to have forgotten something inside once we are already out of the house, anyone can quickly identify with the action being portrayed on screen. The labour and desperation of Sisyphus - forever to carry up the rock that always falls down again -, is subtly presented to the spectator’s conscience. Anel is both a reinterpretation in fiction of the performance enacted in Fricción, as well as an ironic reading of the “descending the stairs” myth of avant-garde art, a myth which reaches from Duchamp’s nude to any of its video reinterpretations such as that of Shigeo Kubota.

The everyday act is repeated to the point of exasperation, and this is where its originality resides. The uneven evolution of the repetition does not allow for the longing between what came before and its conclusion (maybe because these are already known: he leaves his flat and he leaves his building), as if in a loop of habits that we cannot escape, as was the case in Fricción (2002). The ability to create particular ideas by filling up gaps of information gives way to existentialist speculations about Anel’s destiny or about the possibility or not of a world existing outside that staircase.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Anel
  • Direction: Xoán Anleo
  • Production: Centro Galego de arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela. 2002.
  • Team:

    Actor: Francesc Pagès
    Equip de vídeo: Adrian Botey, Clàudia Bonet, Montse Terrades, Videostudi  
    Agraïments: Joan Colomer, Mariona Fernández, Christina Ferreira, Chus Martínez

  • Duration: 00:02:20
  • Original format: Quicktime
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright