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Creative

Erwin Olaf Confronts Generation X with Emotive 50 Minute Film

The Ambassadors, 2 years, 9 months ago

The Ambassadors founder Sebastiaan Roestenburg provides touching tune to split-screen installation

Erwin Olaf Confronts Generation X with Emotive 50 Minute Film

Today sees the international unveiling of Waiting: Selections from Erwin Olaf: Volume I & II, the latest work of photographer Erwin Olaf, with an official exhibition at the Hasted Kraeutler in New York. To present his artworks in a bold, new context and illustrate his overarching message for modern humanity, Olaf also created a split-screen video installation - a 50-minute film titled Waiting. The exhibition is an abbreviated retrospective for the internationally celebrated artist, beginning January 8 and running through February 28, 2015.  

The film, which was shot in a single take, is a statement addressing the impatience and restlessness prevalent in today’s society. Olaf, who is known to address social issues, taboos, and conservative conventions in a highly stylised and cunning mode of image making, emphasises with Waiting, the impact of our busy lives and the kinds of emotions ‘just waiting’ can trigger.

Sound designer and composer Sebastiaan Roestenburg, one of the founders of creative production company The Ambassadors, was tasked to compose 50 minutes of original music to work alongside Olaf’s film installation.


Roestenburg’s music accompanies the viewer through the black and white film, which shows a girl, waiting in a restaurant. Besides briefly touching her glass, opening the menu, she just sits and waits. Atypical for the real world, she is not constantly checking her phone or sending text messages. The carefully composed piano piece takes you through the sentiments of hopefulness, loneliness and depression, experienced while waiting. Depending on when you enter the installation, each visit represents a completely new experience.


As there is barely any visual action in the film, the music plays an important role in transporting the audience into the emotion of the character and conveying the message. Sebastiaan Roestenburg comments:  “This was a very unusual project, primarily because of its length. As a commercial composer, I write a great deal of music but usually for a period of a few seconds to one or two minutes. Composing 50 minutes of music to accompany the personal work of a photographer is very challenging. It is a very subtle process in which every tone is considered impactful.”

Erwin Olaf and Sebastiaan Roestenburg have a long history of collaborating on different film projects. Erwin Olaf comments: “Sebastiaan Roestenburg adds the sound that I have in mind to my imagery. I never really know how to explain what I am looking for until I hear his music. Substantively and musically he surprises me every time. His special talent enriches my visual world.”

Music and Sound

Music Production: The Ambassadors

Sound Design: Sebastiaan Roestenburg

Production Company

Photographer : Erwin Olaf

Category: Museums and galleries , Sports and leisure