The installation Layers of Beliefis the result of the study of UFO photographs, which can be found in a variety of printed materials in the Andreas Züst library near Oberegg in the territorial division of Appenzell. In the archive, which touches on parascience, conspiracy theories and esoteric themes, Thomas Maier sought material dealing with imagery and temporality in the context of blurring, of poor quality, of anachronism and the suddenness of an exceptional moment. He was searching for the visual language to create truth in people's minds.
In doing so, Maier explores the question of how alternative narratives - such as those of UFO sightings - diverge from scientifically accepted narratives and lead to the perception of another, alternative reality. It was essential to find out how UFO recordings can function as a "production of truth". From the sighting of the exceptional situation through to its narration, processing and passing on, to its reproduction and interpretation, various codes are used that intentionally contribute to mystification. For example, blurring always plays a large role in recordings of supposed UFOs. A blurred photo with bad resolution becomes the bearer of truth. The credibility of a UFO sighting is based on a blurred photo. The notion of power and the strong hierarchies of high-quality images are undermined by the radical, decentralized availability of the poor quality image.

With the material from the archive, Thomas Maier developed an installation that picks upon four key aspects and retraces the attraction and fascination for the visual perception of the unknown. Layers of Belief raises the question, which techniques and symbolisms can be used to blur the boundaries between the believable and the unbelievable and disguise interference and manipulation.

Rebecca Stephany, Vadim Fishkin