Privacy Policy

Midwest, 2016

>> Close


Total installation
Concrete floor, 40 containers, vegetation, various materials,
two mirrored walls, drive-in theatre: 11 cars, kiosk, speakers,
screen showing: The Swap (2015)

Rosefeldt's first total installation Midwest (2016) is an illusion in itself. Site-specifically created for the exhibition Wolfsburg Unlimited, visitors are transported to a stagnant suburbia. A hidden surround system broadcasts sounds of passing trains and dogs barking, propelling visitors outdoors as they navigate their way past stacked-up shipping containers, Panama banana boxes and the remnants of destitute dwelling. Weeds poke out of the concrete slabs underfoot and faded litter and scattered debris lurk in corners; accumulative traces amounting to something which once was. Through a narrow opening, a 24-hour kiosk radiating 'Midwest' in red bulbs comes into view and the space opens up to reveal a drive-in cinema. A dozen, or perhaps more, stationary cars wait for the screening; the mirrored walls deceptively enlarge the space.

On show is Rosefeldt's 16-minute loop The Swap (2015). Although capable of standing alone as a film, the projection figuratively mirrors motifs of the installation as it is literally reflected across the space. The same shipping containers adorning the drive-in provide the backdrop for the film, in which an absurd dance plays out between two gangs endlessly exchanging briefcases, most likely filled with money. The containers and the inexhaustible, meticulously choreographed swap serve as an allegory for the uncontrollable mechanics of contemporary global trade. The reflected replicas further accentuate the infinite act as visitors succumb to multidimensional consumer disorientation.

Rosefeldt's installation plays with the idea of ruined nostalgia in the aftermath of an industrial capitalist crash. Once a heyday symbol of the post-war boom, his idle drive-in is instead a melancholic display suggestive of a failed utopia, as posed in the installation's title. Midwest unites the American Midwest, in particular, the decline of Detroit following the collapse of its automobile industry, with the prevailing situation in Midwest Germany – Wolfsburg – in the wake of the Volkswagen-Diesel scandal of 2015. The scandalous deception present in the installation's surrounding metropolis is echoed in the film's play of roguery – no one can keep up anymore, it's out of our hands.


E. Lapper


Exhibition / Catalogue

– Wolfsburg Unlimited, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, April–September 2016 (curated by Ralf Beil; catalogue)


Other Works / Midwest, 2016