“Lonely Planet” shows the stereotype of a western backpacker in India on his odyssey through a world of interlocking backdrops. The desert marks the beginning and end of a trip that takes the protagonist, played by the artist himself, ever deeper into a labyrinth maze of swarming crowds and Bollywood film sets in which he is in danger of becoming lost forever. His journey takes him from romanticized motifs to the slums of Bombay, where the scene suddenly shifts from a fictitious narrative to the reality of a filmic setting: The tourist emerges as a performer amongst cameras and spotlights; the dirty metropolis gives way to the artificial and illusory atmosphere on the set; a putatively authentic India reverts to the realm of Bollywood.
When the protagonist finally manages to escape into the blessed emptiness of the desert, it is merely the beginning of a renewed dissolution of the self. Taking the title of the popular travel guide series, Rosefeldt’s work considers what it means to be a cosmopolite in the age of new media. The film speaks about the hopes and illusions of modern travelers going to Asia with the desire for enlightenment and discovery of authentic and exotic places, whilst following stamped-out trails widespread through travel guides and online platforms.