The Otolith Group’s latest video, O Horizon, 2018, comes out of a long-standing research interest in Rabindranath Tagore and his founding of Visva-Bharati, a school in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India, which was meant to be a living laboratory and an experiment in art, life, and craft. Here, the founders of the group, Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar, discuss their motivations for shooting on location and the Tagorean ethics that animate the work.
The title refers to the surface layer of soil, changed in the area around Santiniketan as the result of Tagore’s introduction of new flora in development of the campus. In studying this trajectory, the film extends The Otolith Group’s ongoing consideration of the Anthropocene, a premise that denotes that the current geological age is one wherein human activity spurs the primary changes on climate and the environment. With O Horizon, The Otolith Group also proposes that Tagore’s project maps onto the notion of terraforming—a term originating in science fiction and now more widely used—whereby a party (typically but not always an interloper) reshapes the atmosphere of a place for their own needs.
O Horizon reflects upon modernist theories of dance and song developed by Tagore and the experimental practices of mural, sculpture, painting, and drawing developed by India’s great modernist artists affiliated with Santiniketan: K.G. Subramanyan, Benode Behari Mukherjee, Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij. O Horizon draws together visual arts, dance, song, music, and recital to assemble a structure of feeling of the Tagorean imagination in the 21st Century.
This screening is part of the Bauhaus Imaginista: Collected Research exhibition.
Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Auswärtiges Amt, Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
On the occasion of 100 Jahre bauhaus (100 Years of Bauhaus).