Fifth Wall is based on a Chassidic parable. It tells of two men who were each given the job of decorating one half of a house. While one of them carries out his task conscientiously, the other is lazy and takes his time. In the last moment however, he manages to paint his half of the house with pitch, and this reflects the other’s work in its glistening surface.
The text is interrupted by film sequences. Laufer carries the viewer off to a mediterranean villa. Switching between views of the landscape and the interior of the villa, the camera follows the actors as they move through the house or its surroundings. But what their actions and conversations mean is not clear. The figure of a writer, who writes down the story as it unfolds, acts as a direct bridge to the parable. The reflection motif can be seen at many places in the video.
With the work’s title, Laufer is making a word play on a similar term used in film and theatre studies – the Fourth Wall: An imaginary wall which, in the theatre, stands between the stage and the auditorium. In the world of video an additional fifth wall, the projection, forces itself between the observer and the image. Laufer comes dangerously close to this wall by interlacing the levels of reception and action. Just as the reflecting wall of the parable is able to project the work of the other man into the newly opened dimension of a fifth wall, enabling it to be perceived in a new way, so does Laufer explore the possibilities of the artistic medium video in his work. (Stefanie Krämer)