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The Creation, 2015

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The Creation
1-channel film for Joseph Haydn's oratory The Creation
Colour, mute
Shot on HD
Aspect ratio 2,35:1
ca. 1 h 50 min
Live screened / performed (longer) version of In the Land of Drought (2015), varying in length depending on the conductor's timing of the concert


Sharing its title with Joseph Haydn’s musical masterpiece, The Creation (2015) is Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of the oratorio accompanied by a live orchestra. A large film screen displays hypnotic surveillance shots of deserted landscapes as the two-hour-plus concert of Haydn’s score is performed before it. The vastness of the images provides space for the music to unfold its power as the pairing allows The Creation to offer a glimmer of hope in the post-Anthropocentric world Rosefeldt depicts. With its performative aspect, to date, The Creation has only been shown three times: at the Ruhrtriennale (2015) and twice at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam (2016) – each time as a live response to the music.
Shot entirely using a drone above Moroccan ruins – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Atlas Mountains – and the mining Ruhr region of Germany, Rosefeldt draws parallels between the two desolate sceneries laying waste to human impact. As the orchestral praises unfold to celebrate the creation of the world, countless bodies dressed in white lab suits glide across muted tones of the barren landscape. The ‘scientists’ probe the ruins with a slow, determined pace as increasing numbers of the same beings later inspect the vacant mining headframes and coal-pits. The uniformed bodies are allegorical of man returning from an imagined future to find relics of civilisation and ruins of the industrial age once humanity has extinguished itself.  

The figures finally unite upon an amphitheatre where they rhythmically draw close and disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, this aesthetic joins symbols such as copulating dogs to periodically recall the creation of life. As seen from above, 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.  

Rosefeldt’s visualisation carries the audience in equivocal antithesis beyond Haydn’s blissful beginning and into the complexities of the globalised present. Cynicism aside, even in the desolate wasteland the search for synchronisation continues.  


E. Lapper


Music: Collegium Vocale, B‘Rock Orchestra, conducted by René Jacobs
Shown at Ruhrtriennale / Kraftzentrale Landschaftspark Duisburg, 2015 and at Dutch National Opera and Ballet Amsterdam, 2016

Written, directed & produced by Julian Rosefeldt

All rights reserved © Julian Rosefeldt

Other Works / The Creation, 2015