Shifting Horizons: A Line and its Movement in Art, History, and Literature (August 28th-31st 2019)

Shifting Horizons: A Line and its Movement in Art, History, and Literature. An International Conference at the Augusta Raurica in Basel, organised by Beate Fricke together with Lucas Burkart

The horizon divides the earth from the sky. It is the line that dictates our spatial understandings and defines our view of the discernable world. At the same time, the horizon marks the transition to the realm of the imaginary or the world of the transcendental. Though often interpreted as a fixed border, the line of the horizon also always changes. Depending on place, time, knowledge, and culture, such borders have been drawn differently, opened up or redefined. The horizon is, in other words, not a fixed constant, but rather subject to constant shifts; the visible world and imaginary reality meet, constituting always something new. In each area, new regions are conquered, new experiments are broadening the knowledge of invisible worlds, and new forms of networks are (re-)configuring the lived environment.

This conference on horizons will examine the historical meanings and functions of horizons in visual and intellectual cultures from antiquity to the modern. Taking a closer look at horizons and their shifts allows us to understand how people have and continue to apprehend the relationship between the visible world and the invisible dimension of the cosmos. How do cultures define what lies beyond the horizon? In a globally networked world, what relevance comes to the changing horizon? One of the fundamental questions will be whether modern understandings of representation can be understood as a result of the dynamic at the borderline of the horizon? Does the act of setting into motion and transgressing create cultural stabilities?

In this conference, considering shifting horizons of perception will link a wide variety of objects, cultural practices, and epistemological categories. The six sections will be: The Space of Images (Bildraum) and the Horizon, The Horizon and Imagination in Literature, Global Spaces, Cartography and Ordering of the World, Narration and Historiography, as well as Representation of Knowledge. Participants in Art History, Literary Studies, History and the History of Knowledge are encouraged to participate, with topics ranging from antiquity to the present.

Augusta Raurica, Basel