Artists' Television Access

Anna Landa: “The Fear”

October 12, 2020 - November 10, 2020

ATA Window Gallery presents Anna Landa, The Fear
October 10 – November 10, 2020

Stoic philosophers, such as Marcus Aurelius, believed that without an ever-present sense of death, life would be insipid. Anna Landa’s sound work ‘The Fear’ embodies this line of thinking, challenging viewers to contemplate their own mortality at a moment of collective uncertainty. Her installation is a celebration of existence in all of its messiness, the moments that came before as well as those yet to come. In acknowledging life’s finite nature, it is imbued with value and meaning. 

Like clockwork, the heart defines the duration of a life with its regular rhythm. Landa has harnessed her temporary nature by creating a countdown synced to an audio track of her own recorded heartbeat. The work was inspired by her lifelong preoccupation with mortality, and fueled by a scientific study that found all mammals to have approximately 1.5 billion heartbeats over the span of a lifetime. Humans also shared this trait before recent advances in hygiene and healthcare significantly lengthened their lives. The countdown began in 2012, and is accessible online for the approximately forty-two years it will run before the screen goes blank. With this work, Landa hopes to invite a sense of curiosity by pointing to impermanence as inherent, and to inspire reflection and discourse on the often overlooked moments that saturate our existence. 

The installation resembles a dining room, with a table set for dinner and a television in the corner. The table settings are coated in white paint and attached to a white table cloth as though frozen in time, along with the remnants of a dinner party like crumpled napkins and ashtrays with cigarette butts. A projector angled downward displays a pre-recorded dinner party, precisely mapped to the blank canvas of the white table settings, creating an eerie combination of 3D objects and 2D projections interacting. Sounds of laughter, conversation, and music are faintly audible in the background, as though from a distant memory or a dream. In this period of extreme social disconnection, Landa’s goal is to create a work that captures the shared experience of existence. She wants to acknowledge the anxiety of the moment while emphasizing the traditions of caring and connection that transcend sociopolitical pressures within the community.


Anna Landa immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union with her family in the late 1980s as Soviet policies became more restrictive towards Jews. Experiencing the world from the viewpoint of an “other,” her artistic interests were shaped by the need to seek out commonalities between people across cultures. She received her BFA in Art and Design from California Polytechnic State University and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she continues to expand her practice to include aspects of science and technology. Landa has held solo shows at Christopher Henry Gallery in NYC, The Growlery and Savernack St. Gallery in San Francisco, and contributed works to exhibitions at Aggregate Space, Root Division and Minnesota Street Projects. Additionally, her interactive pieces have been featured at the California Academy of Sciences.

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