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In the Land of Drought, 2015/2017

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In the Land of Drought
1-channel film
Colour, sound
Shot on HD
Transferred onto a hard disk player
Aspect ratio 2,35:1
Loop, 43 min 15 sec
Edition 6 + 2 ap


A condensed version of Rosefeldt's filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn's The Creation and conceived for the Ruhrtriennale 2015, 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 43-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the post-Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate archeologically at the remnants of civilisation 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 civilisation – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The overall-clad bodies appear in stark contrast to the dull landscape, like alien visitors who were perhaps once familiar with this ruined wasteland.

Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany where the remains of industrialisation lie. The same 'scientists' prowl the abandoned mining region, amidst the headframes and coal-pits, wandering across lonely land 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. Thus, 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 unifying aesthetics hint at a prospective optimism amidst a dislocated world man has created.

E. Lapper


Exhibitions / Catalogues

Als wir verschwanden: In the Land of Drought, Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, August–September 2020
– In the Land of Drought, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, January–February 2020
In the Land of Drought, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, April–September 2019
1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, The Former Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Riga, June–October 2018 (catalogue)
– Avant-Garde and Apocalypse: Film and Photography by Julian Rosefeldt, Dirimart Nisantasi and Dirimart Dolapdere, Istanbul, May–June 2018
– The Fall of the Stars: Julian Rosefeldt | Albrecht Dürer | Johannes Gerson, Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen, March–August 2018
– Julian Rosefeldt. Manifesto. Works 2005–2017, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, September–December 2017
In the Land of Drought, König Galerie, Berlin, June–August 2017
– The difference between sunrise and sunset, Schloss Tüssling, Munich, June 2016
– The Creation, Holland Festival, Amsterdam, June 2016
– In the Land of Drought, Ruhrtriennale, Duisburg, August–September 2015



Gregos, Katerina, ed. Becoming Human: Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art Reader 1. Exh. cat. RIBOCA 2018, Riga. Riga 2019.

Ellers, Iris, et. al., Der Fall der Sterne. Julian Rosefeldt, Albrecht Dürer, Johannes Gerson, Exh. cat. Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen 2018.


Film Credits 

Executive Producer: Wassili Zygouris
Director of Photography: Christoph Krauss
Drone Camera: Billy Gropper, Nicolas Lutz
Drone Pilots: Severin Wegener, Holger Hirsch
Editor: Viktor Jakovleski
Additional Editor: Bobby Good
Postproduction Supervisors: Jan Schöningh, Manolo Bautista
Sound Design: Fabian Schmidt, Julian Rosefeldt

Team Morocco
Executive Producer: Karim Debbagh
Production Coordinator: Seloua El Gouni
Location Manager: Hicham Zaari
Assistants Location Manager: Khalid El Maya, Hicham Elliq
Extra Coordinator: Brahim Choukri
Assistant Extra Coordinator: Youssef Belghiti
Production Drivers: Mbarek Abid, Mohamed Abdelkrim
Animal Trainer: Nahid

Team Ruhr Area
Production Coordinators: Philip Decker, Stephanie Funk, Elisabeth Krefta, Susanne Blank
Dramaturgy: Tobias Staab
Catering: Bobori

Shooting Locations Morocco
Atlas Film Studios Ouarzazate and surroundings, Atlas mountains, Dades valley, Erg Chebbi, Jbel Saghro

Shooting Locations Ruhr Area
ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG (Duisburg), Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord (Duisburg), RWE Power AG (Garzweiler), Bergwerk Prosper-Haniel (RAG Deutsche Steinkohle, Bottrop), LWL-Industriemuseum Henrichshütte (Hattingen), NRW.URBAN PHOENIX West (Dortmund), Kokerei Zollverein (Essen)

Thanks to
the crew and extras
Kasbah Films: Karim Debbagh, Filmgalerie 451: Frieder Schlaich, Irene von Alberti, airV8: Holger Hirsch, Goethe-Institut Rabat: Dr. Friedrich Dahlhaus, Benaissa Msiid, Tobias Staab, Lukas Crepaz, Johann Simons, Team Ruhrtriennale

Co-produced by Ruhrtriennale
Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation
With friendly support of the association of friends and supporters of Ruhrtriennale e.V.

Shot in Morocco and the Ruhr area, Germany, 2015

Written, directed and produced by Julian Rosefeldt

All rights reserved © Julian Rosefeldt


Film & Video Works / In the Land of Drought, 2015/2017