On view in the nave of St. Agnes will be a new large video installation. Titled “In the Land of Drought,” it was filmed in Morocco and the Ruhr area.
A condensed version of Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” and conceived for the 2015 Ruhrtriennale, “In the Land of Drought” (2015/2017) confronts the relationship between man and his impact on the world. Set to atmospheric sounds and a pulsating hum, the 44-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate the archaeological remnants of civilization after humanity has made itself extinct. Shot entirely using a drone, Rosefeldt’s images hover meditatively over the desolate landscape and ruins. Connoting surveillance, the drone’s bird’s eye view removes human perspective with us onlookers kept at a distance throughout. Increasingly, more figures dressed in white lab suits emerge to inspect the ruins of civilization – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.
Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany, which is littered with the remains of industrialization. The same ‘scientists’ prowl the abandoned mining region, wandering among the headframes and coal pits before finally descending upon an amphitheatre. As seen from the audience’s heavenly outlook, the amphitheatre resembles an eye, and its all-seeing ability is reflective of the panoptic aerial viewpoint. A dialogue unfolds between the two perspectives of control: the eye on the ground and the drone’s eye overhead. As the steady hum livens to a climatic rhythm, the figures draw close only to disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, the pulsating movement of the white figures hint at a prospective optimism amid the dislocated world man once has shaped.