B3 Focus 2023
In art, the horizon is often depicted as a simple line separating the sky from the earth. This line can be seen as a border that invites the viewer to think beyond and imagine what lies beyond that border. The horizon challenges our curiosity for new experiences that await us beyond. It represents hope, a boundary, a transition, and a warning of the unknown.
The horizon, as a metaphorical marker between the known and the unknown, between the possible and what had once been thought to be impossible, has played a central role for centuries in diverse disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, literature, art, film, and contemporary video art.
In philosophy, the horizon is understood as a demarcation of the limits of our knowledge and understanding, limits which are conditioned and limited by cultural and historical contexts. Psychologists have identified that, behind the subjective horizon of each individual, exists a new space for personal growth, self-realisation, transcendence, and the development of individual potential.
Sociologists and political scientists recognise the freedom, beyond the current horizon of social structures and systems, for us all to actively shape the future of our society. The digital age has significantly expanded the horizons of our knowledge, understanding, and experiences, as well as the way we interact with each other and our environment.
Current global challenges, such as climate change, social inequality, and political conflicts, remind us that the horizon is not only a space for exciting exploration and discovery but also a boundary that we must overcome, in a moral and ethical manner, to find constructive solutions for pressing problems of our future.
As a powerful symbol for creative thinking, the metaphor of the horizon presents the opportunity to use a vast variety of creative spaces. In literature, art, and film, the horizon has always served as a symbol for the search for new experiences, the investigation of human existential conditions, or the exploration of the limits of human knowledge and understanding. Writers like Herman Melville or Virginia Woolf used the metaphor to illustrate their longing for freedom, adventure, and existential self-exploration, while painters like Caspar David Friedrich or Mark Rothko used the horizon as an aesthetic means to depict emotions, moods, and spatial relationships.
In films like Andrei Tarkovsky's ‘Solaris’ or Christopher Nolan's ‘Interstellar’, the horizon is used as a boundary that protagonists must overcome, despite various dangers and fears, to find answers to existential questions, or to confront their past and inner conflicts. In film, the choice of using the horizon in an image is also consciously used as a stylistic device within the narrative structure. The horizon has repeatedly been deployed as imagery by directors like Jane Campion, John Ford, Stephen Spielberg, and Wim Wenders.
Contemporary video art uses the horizon as a multidimensional, ambivalent metaphor that enables an altered view of human experience, social issues, and aesthetic challenges. Video artists such as Bill Viola, Pipilotti Rist, and Marina Abramović use the horizon as a metaphorical link between reality and fiction, in order to explore both the possibilities of human existence and the artistic exploration of social and political issues.
Interactive video installations, created by artists such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer or Olafur Eliasson, expand on the concept of the horizon with the use of virtual reality and viewer interaction. The meaning of participation and interaction in the digital world thereby comes into focus with the help of the medium of video art. These artistic approaches not only reflect the increasing fusion of physical and digital realities and their respective horizons of understanding, but also enable new perspectives on how we perceive and interact with the world around us.