Semjase's Friend

Silas Bahr

2019 - Ongoing

Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany

In Schmidrüti, a small Swiss village outside Zürich, lives the only person who is in contact with intelligent aliens. That is what "Billy" Eduard Albert Meier, a 82 year old Swiss man, claims. As proof he serves an extensive collection of photographs and videos, which show spaceships and other traces of aliens in unusually high quality.

In his so called "Contact Reports", transcripts of Meyer's alleged conversations with a Pleiadian called Semjase, he prophesies, among other things, the extinction of mankind due to overpopulation and provides explanations on innumerable questions and phenomena. But not only do the Pleiadians know about our future, they also know about our past: Jesus, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, they all had contacts with aliens and, according to Billy, are misrepresented by our history books.

Despite extensive criticism concerning the authenticity of Meier's photographs, his followers around the world insist on their authenticity. The series "Semjase’s Friend" plays with this uncertainty as a state of mind: Are we alone in the universe or are they already among us? And what about the relationship of photography to fiction?

We see and we believe - despite knowing about possible manipulations. We doubt and yet become accomplices: Billy really saw them, because the photographs bear witness to that… Though photography, Meier has constructed a fictive reality that, as a coherent knowledge system, provides answers and possible solutions to urgent real questions. By combining documentary photographs with found footage and staged photographs, the series questions the inherent indexical potential of photography and the simultaneous uncertainty about fiction and reality.

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  • View from Eschenberg over the Swiss Thurgau region, the home of Billy Meier and the location of most of his encounters with aliens.

  • Page view from the book "The Truth about the Pleiadians" by Billy Meier, in which he reports about his first encounter with the alien woman Semjase.

  • A radio station on Uetliberg near Zürich.

  • Schmidrüti, a small Swiss village, where Billy Meier bought an old farm and, together with his supporters, expanded it into the "Semjase Silver Star Center".

  • Monument with a plaque of the "Semjase Silver Star Center" and the year it was founded: 1978. "FIGU" stands for "Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien", or free interest group for fringe sciences sciences, humanities and ufology studies.

  • The Olympus 35 ECR, the camera Billy Meier extensively used. Since Meier lost his left arm in an accident he claims he only can use this camera because of its easiness of use.

  • The Sädelegg, a place where Billy took his probably most famous photograph of an UFO. This picture was later used without credit on the famous posters claiming "I want to believe" from the tv series "X Files".

  • Mr. Frehner, one of the approximately 400 disciples who believe Billy's stories and spread his messages, sitting in a special visitors room at Semjase Silver Star Center.

  • Page view a photo album with some of Billy's imagery proving his contacts with the aliens.

  • Satellite dish of a remote sensing center in Neustrelitz, Germany.

  • Night sky with the star constellation of the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters.

  • The Semjase Tree, a now dead apple tree, in which Billy claims to have shot a hole with a laser weapon given to him by the Pleiadians.

  • The Super Jet Ray Gun, a 1980s toy weapon from Japan that critics say is the alleged weapon of the aliens.

  • Track of a landing beamship.

  • Semjase wearing the space suit Billy described in "The Truth about the Pleiadians".

  • Concrete structure in a Swiss pine forest.