Drummerrsss is a permanent video installation for the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Two drummers appear vertically aligned. The first is set inside a deep hole in the ground, while the second hovers from above as if suspended from the sky. The simultaneous playing of the drums is therefore composed of the sounds that are played underground, emerging from below, with those played above ground, hence leading to the creation of music. Documented from numerous points of view, the depicted scene forms a manifestation of image and sound that comprises a multi-channel video installation.

The concept of nation-state is rooted in the ground. It is first and foremost about land, territory and borders. It has its own rules and symbols and demands loyalty from its citizens, whereas ideological and spiritual belief-systems hold to their own set of codes, rules, and rituals, and are capable of functioning in parallel, independent of sovereignty or territory. The two “Operating Systems” are found in a constant collision, and serve as key elements in the formation of both individual and collective identity. The friction created by their meeting points may be fertile but might also lead to disaster. Drummerrsss strives to relate to such concepts by integrating the elements of earth and air by means of rhythm, beat, and sound.

The project was shot in Saarland, Germany. Known for its forests and its rich resources of coal and ore, Saarland was for many years a strategic, economical, and political asset. As such, the region was subject to a great number of conflicts and alternately governed by Germany and France. Its history, and unique and valuable landscape, addresses questions of identity and territory. The last of the Saarland mines was closed down last year, marking the end of a very long history of mining in the region and a consequential decrease in its economic and political value. Drummerrsss is inspired primarily by the physical labor of the region’s coal miners who spent a significant amount of their lives below ground. Drummerrsss attempts to reflect the repetitive sounds of striking involved in mining, and produce those that resemble the straining work by means of the drums.

Beat is a basic and primordial phenomenon. Like our heart, it lives within us; a source of life. In Drummerrsss, the two drummers relate to each other throughout their performance. They play separately and together, alternately going in and out of sync, while the sounds produced by their drumming greatly differ from one another. A muffled, condensed sound rises above ground, as a spacious, open sound is heard through the air. Drummerrsss goes beyond its visual portrayal and is presented as a complex musical piece, as much as it is a visual one.

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Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, installation view demo

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, installation view demo

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, installation view demo

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, installation view demo

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, 3-channel video installation

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, 3-channel video installation

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, 3-channel video installation

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, 3-channel video installation

Gilad Ratman, Drummerrsss, 2020, 3-channel video installation

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