Erdem Taşdelen


Wild Child

Two HD videos
42' 05" and 20' 59"

Wild Child is a two-part video installation that takes as its starting point An Historical Account of the Discovery and Education of a Savage Man by Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, a physician who took on the task of caring for a feral boy found in Aveyron, France in 1798. Embarking on a mission to “civilize” the child by teaching him language, Itard was left frustrated in his attempts to make the boy transcend his so-called savagery when he proved incapable of learning to speak.

In Wild Child, this story is adapted to contemporary British Columbia and presented through two distinct elements. One video depicts preparations for an imagined filmed documentary, featuring twelve actors as they audition for the roles of its main characters. This is accompanied by a second video, a sequence of images of a forest depicting “nature” in a supposedly unmediated manner. Together, the videos in Wild Child satirically draw attention to the mechanics at work in the representation of fantasies about human nature, while enacting a scripted version of reality that deliberately befuddles the viewer.

Wild Child was commissioned by the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver in partnership with Cineworks and was supported by British Columbia Arts Council.

Installation views: Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2017. Photos by SITE Photography.