Responding to the architecture and acoustics of the 9.5-meter high atrium space, Anri Sala has developed a site-specific installation featuring thirty-eight snare drums suspended from the ceiling.

Sound is generated by movement of the drumsticks in response to vibrations emanating from loudspeakers within each instrument. At the core of The Last Resort is a rendition of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, one of the pivotal musical creations of the Enlightenment—a time when European nations were rethinking the constructs of politics and science.

Sala wanted to imagine what would become of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto if it were to float and drift like a message in a bottle.As Sala explains, “I had at the back of my mind the rift and the ensuing contradiction between the departure point of some remarkable principles of the Enlightenment—such as tolerance and a non-judgmental acceptance of the other—and their fallouts on arrival, exacerbating prejudices, which in turn caused untold devastation and loss.” How would a fictional journey through the winds, the waves, and the water currents of the high seas affect a musical masterpiece of the age of Enlightenment?

The Last Resort was first presented as the 33rd Kaldor Public Art Project at the Observatory Hill Rotunda, Sydney, from October 13 to November 5, 2017.