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The Soundmaker, 2004

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Trilogy of Failure
(Part 1)
The Soundmaker

3-channel film installation
Colour, sound
Shot on Super-16mm
Converted to PAL SD and transferred onto DVD
Aspect ratio 16:9
Loop, 35 min 7 sec
Edition 6 + 2 ap

The Soundmaker (2004) is the first part of Rosefeldt’s Trilogy of Failure (2004/2005) in which three different settings draw a picture of our vain entanglement with everyday rituals. In each case the protagonist is caught up in a microcosm that suggests mental and spatial claustrophobia. As a reaction to the hopeless situation, he plunges into permanent Sisyphean activity – going nowhere and producing nothing. The motifs of perpetual attempt and constant failure find their equivalent in the repetitive structure of the loop. The scenes are allegories of our frantic and ultimately futile attempts to escape the surrounding norms, constraints, structures and rituals by which we are determined.

The Soundmaker piles, in endless iteration, the furnishings of his room into his own personal Tower of Babel, only to dismantle it and return the room to its original state again. His performance is accompanied by a Foley artist, an alter ego looking identical to himself. While the action takes place on the central screen, two screens at the sides show the procedure of sound-making. Shot in aerial and frontal perspective, the screens depict the translation from life as it occurs in the centre into simple objects and minimal movements. As in many of his latter projects, Rosefeldt reflects upon the myth machinery of cinema by showing the film set behind the scenes, while simultaneously using it as a metaphor for the mechanics of life.

Summarised from Stefan Berg and Katerina Gregos, in: Julian Rosefeldt: Film Works (2008)

Exhibitions / Catalogues

House of Impressions. Wandering with a Troubadour, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, October 2016–March 2017
   (curated by Olga Shishko)
– Kino der Kunst. Julian Rosefeldt – Trilogy of Failure Part I & II, Maximiliansforum, Munich, April 2013 (curated by Heinz
   Peter Schwerfel; catalogue)
Brick + Mortar International Video Festival, Greenfield, MA, October 2011 (curated by Christop Cox)
Julian Rosefeldt – Making Of. Film Installations and Photo Works 2004–2010, DA2 – Domus Artium, Salamanca,
   October 2010–March 2011 (curated by Javier Panera)
Julian Rosefeldt: American Night, Kunstmuseum Bonn, November 2009–January 2010 (curated by Stephan Berg;
Molten States: Olaf Nicolai, René Pollesch, Julian Rosefeldt, Catherine Sullivan, Royal Academy of Arts, London,
   October–December 2008 (curated by David Thorp)
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, The Icehouse, Berwick-upon-Tweed, September 2007 (curated by Iain Pate,
   Rebecca Shatwell)
Silence: Listen to the Show, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, May–September 2007 (curated by
   Franceso Bonami; catalogue)
Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art, CIFO – Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami,
   December 2006–February 2007 (curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill; catalogue)
Manipulations: On Economies of Deceit, CCA Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia, Gdansk, December 2006–February
   2007; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, March–May 2007 (curated by Adam Budak; catalogue)
Video-Kunst 2004–2006 / 12. Marler Video-Kunst-Preis, Kunsthalle Göppingen, September–October 2006 (curated by
   Werner Meyer)
Video Installations from the Olbricht Collection, Essen: Rodney Graham, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Pipilotti Rist,
   Julian Rosefeldt
, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, June–August 2008 (curated by Wolfgang Schoppmann)
Sonambiente, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, June–July 2006 (curated by Georg Weckwerth, Matthias Osterwold; catalogue)
International Biennial of Contemporary Art IBCA 2005. Manipulations: On Economies of Deceit, National Gallery and other
   venues, Prague, June–September 2005 (curated by Adam Budak; catalogue)
Julian Rosefeldt: The Soundmaker, Arndt & Partner, Zurich, February–March 2005
Julian Rosefeldt: Trilogie des Scheiterns, Part I+II, ZKMax, Munich, January–March 2005 (curated by Christian Gögger,
   Diana Ebster)
Julian Rosefeldt – Trilogy of Failure, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, July–August 2004
   (curated by Anselm Franke)


Berg, Stephan, et al., eds. Julian Rosefeldt: Film Works. Ostfildern, 2008.
De la Motte-Haber, Helga, et al., eds. Sonambiente Berlin 2006: klang kunst sound art. Exh. cat. Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Heidelberg, 2006.

Film Credits

Felix Kratzer (The Soundmaker)

Production Designer: Leonie v. Arnim
Director of Photography: Christoph Krauss
Production Manager: Sandra Knape
Costume Designer: Beate Scheel
Make-up Artist: Sven-Eric Willems
1st Assistant Director: Matthias Junge
Gaffer: Martin König
Set Manager: Olaf Kenner
1st Assistant Production Designer: Christiane Rothe
Props / Set Dresser: Daniel Ben Sorge
On-Set Dresser: Sven Geßner
Set Dresser: Mareike Jetten
Driver Production Design: Jenny Werther
Set Construction: Blackbox
1st Assistant DoP: Kerstin Kosinarova
Clapper-Loader: Jakob Ebert
Key Grip: Thomas Pieger, Robert Staffl
Best Boy: Sören Lang
Electricians: Alexander Klein, Urs Zimmermann
Assistants Production Manager: Ralph Appru, Julia Szemborski
Script: Tina Tripp
Set Photographer: Barbara Schmidt
Driver: Ralph Appru
Catering: Markus Raska

Editor: Sergej Range
Postproduction: Pictorion das werk berlin GmbH
Project Manager: das werkTom Michel
Colourist: Nadir Mansouri
Compositing: Christian Tröger, Philipp Fehling
Technical Support: Alex Falk
Postproduction Sound: Arri Film & TV GmbH
Foley Artist: Felix Kratzer
Sound Supervisor, Re-recording: Tschangis Chahrokh-Zadeh
Sound Editor: Berni Maurer

Camera, Light & Grip Supplier: Cinegate GmbH
Remote Crane Supplier: Gripscorner GmbH
Processing & Telecine: Schwarzfilm Postproduktion GmbH
Insurance: A. Huber & Co.
Transport: Medias Reiseservice GmbH
Film Stock: Fuji Kine Film Vetriebsges. mbH, Kodak GmbH

Supported by:
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Rumi Verjee

Shot in Berlin, 2004

Written, directed and produced by Julian Rosefeldt

All rights reserved © Julian Rosefeldt

Film & Video Works / The Soundmaker, 2004