drawing the horizon with the sun

On September 23rd 2019.
During the autumn equinox, at the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.
Duration: 6 hours. From 7.10 am, (dawn), to 1.10 pm, (zenith).
Where: Vilchada Beach in the South of Thira Island in Greece.

Light sculpture. Reflected sunrays ~5km long. Thira_September 23rd 2019
Documented by photo performance (6 hours exposure) by Stefano Urani
Mamiya RB67 analogical medium format camera with 0.30mm stenopeic pinhole
On Ilford Panf PLUS b/w, 50 ISO film

On September 23rd, during autumn equinox at 7.05 am, a photographic pinhole analogical midsize camera, (a Mamiya RB67) is positioned on a natural tripod in the beach of Vilchada in the South of Thira Island in Greece. It is fixed facing West about 50 cm from the surface of the water.

A mirror about 250 centimeters in diameter is placed on board of a local 10 mt fisherboat. The mirror faces East (and the rising sun) while the boat start crossing the horizon line viewed from the beach side and projected in the pinhole film camera. The boat and the mirror travel for 6 hours, from the dawn to the zenith, (from 7.05 am until 1.05 pm) along the horizon line (2 kilometers off the coast). The mirrors mounted on the boat reflect the rising sun light during the 6 hours journey along the horizon line. The mirror transmits to the film thousand of little flashes in the purpose to draw the horizon line with the sunray reflected by the mirror. The mirror needs to be adjusted to follow the rising sun and continue to project the sun-rays to the film.

This light movement is recorded by the film through the reflex of the sun into the mirror. Given the terrestrial curvature the boat-mirror path is about 3-6 kilometers long. The result for the human eye from the beach is a small luminous point slowly flashing and crossing the horizon line. This creates a diachronic line of light along the west horizon. With the sun rising to its zenith behind the camera the warm light of dawn reflected in the mirror is increasingly white.

Drawing the horizon with the sun is an  project based on the idea of non-authorship linked to the Land Art cultural heritage. The possibility of conceiving an artwork disconnected from the identity of the author is an old one. Roland Barthes presents this idea in his text ‘Le degrè zero de l’ecriture’ and he develops it further in his essay ‘The death of the author’ published in the experimental magazine Aspen (1968). Barthes suggests the death of the author as a prerequisite for the birth of the reader. The work would thus exist independently of its creator and would belong to a more generic and universal realm in the sense of humanity has created, humanity has produced.

The series this_is_not_the_present_ is a dynamic of production that contemplates the possibility that in a specific moment of contemporary art history, some artworks could have been realized, but for some reasons never were. Given a numbers of discourses, concepts, problems, subjects and materials at the centre of the creative research of several authors and artists in a given historical moment, gaps seem to emerge. this_is_not_the_present_ brings together a series of works created to fill those gaps. In the specific case of Drawing the horizon with the sun the artistic historical references are numerous: for example the work of Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Giovanni Anselmo, Robert Morris, Walter De Maria in the late ’60 beginning of the ’70.

this_is_not_the_present_ is a series of works initiated by Giovanni Casui n collaboration with: Evangelia Basdekis; CAP/ CorinthArt Platform Residency, www.corinthartplatform.com; Kali Nikolou, www.kalinikolou.com; Marius Buning, Freie Universität, Berlin, www.mariusbuning.com; Stefano Urani ; Sarah Elsing, writer and journalist, www.sarahelsing.de; Sardisches Kulturzentrum Berlin.


Cagliari Episode_Archive

Cagliari episode: a black and white wall-photo (400 cm x 280 cm) was applied behind the Pirandello school archive space. The archive space has been turned to an immersive installation. The photo covers the surface of the wall but can only be partially visible through the mobile elements of the archive. The photo is the only complete documentation (six hours exposure) of the appearance of ‘Drawing the horizon with the sun’.

In the picture you can see small bright flashes on the horizon line: the analogue film has recorded the light reflected by the mirrors placed in the boat of εωργιος. This first attempt to draw the horizon with reflected sunlight was only partially successful. The following text describes in full the development of this photographic performance and of the first episode of Drawing the horizon with the sun.


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