Answering the Sun
Rainer Kohlberger is a maximalist, ready to take things to the limit when it comes to visual, auditory, and ultimately also bodily experiences. What else can explain the reason why he’s chosen the sun as his dialogue partner? As children we squinted our eyes, gazed at the horizon, and let the sun come in; this gave us the most beautiful trips.
The basic requirements were idleness and absolute devotion, turning off all thoughts, setting aside all other commitments. As the ideal and in fact only setting for each showing of his Answering the Sun, Kohlberger prefers the darkest possible cinema space, to be equipped with a large screen and the best possible sound system, because it is only there that his unsettling, mesmerizing conundrum can unfold to maximum effect.
Kohlberger’s work speaks of seduction, an overstimulation and deception of the senses, monochrome-pumping color surfaces, powerful drones. A night-black sequence in front of a wall of sound is followed by a hallucinatory passage without sound, which finally turns into shimmering Op-Art geometry. Strong light signals create afterimages on the retina, while specific acoustic stimuli stimulate the ear to generate sounds on its own, and the entire body is affected, with an implicit loss of control. And in all the dizzying flickering, throbbing, and pulsating, a sun ball appears, largely bathed in vibrant colors.
Just as we children of the sun were entertained and inspired by the uniqueness of our trips, every collective viewing of this film will remain individual in the eye of each beholder. Kohlberger takes this to extremes. Retinal afterimages and sound emissions from the ear can be measured, but in the darkness of the cinema, one can only guess at what the other members of the audience have experienced during this full hour of iridescent colors, shapes, and sound worlds. Can there be a more beautiful declaration of love for cinema, whose sun rises again and again? (Regina Schlagnitweit)
Translation: John Wojtowicz
Answering the Sun