AboutClemens von Wedemeyer's film installations investigate the uncertain distinction between fact and fiction. His new commission for The Curve is composed of eight different film fragments, all referring to first contact between anthropologists, explorers and groups of people living in remote jungle locations who have never previously had contact with Western civilisation.
An example of such âfirst contact' is that of the discovery of the Tasaday. First encountered by the West in 1971, this tiny ethnic group became an instant news story as a contemporary instance of Stone Age living. In the 1980s they were once again the subject of international press attention when anthropologists and journalists declared them a hoax. Since then, the Philippine government has declared them authentic but there are still people who believe their appearance was fabricated. Von Wedemeyer is fascinated by the question of whether the Tasaday's performance in front of the world's TV cameras was real or a piece of theatre.
Von Wedemeyer's work is entitled The Fourth Wall, after the âimaginary screen' conceived by actors as a means to imagine themselves alone and which, at the same time, enables the audience to believe the drama on stage is real. In von Wedemeyer's fiction, a theatre play staged here at the Barbican is inspired by the story of the Tasaday. Other film fragments, staged variously around the Barbican Centre, revolve around this event like satellites, pointing to other notions of first contact.