Chasing the Horizon, 2009
16mm color film transferred to HD video
Christopher Richmond’s Chasing the Horizon (2009) contemplates and distills the romantic vision of a lone figure wandering through the vast frontier heading West. In one long tracking shot, limited only by the time afforded on one roll of four-hundred feet of 16mm film, the artist himself sets out to chase the horizon, stop the sunset, and prevent the day’s end.
Filmed at El Mirage Lake, a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert where competition is held for land speed records, the film also suggests a level of futile whimsy—a performance of continuous non-attainment and endless repetition performed on numerous occasions before finally being documented to film. Urgent yet futile, the steady rhythm of the artist’s feet captures the viewer’s attention as he runs towards the setting sun. The camera, fixed on his solitary figure, follows him In silhouette as he pursues the sun. His figure slowly becomes an abstraction, like a mirage in the desert seemingly running away and towards the camera to greet the viewer simultaneously. He perpetually runs but never reaches his destination, akin to a Sisyphean task.
As the film progresses and the chase continues, the frame darkens as the film’s singular light source, the sun, slowly disappears behind the distant hills. The film reflects back on the apparatus again, the camera, the fade to black—here practically performed in camera by nature—and turns the focus back to the viewer and away from the cinematic mode.
Director: Christopher Richmond
Camera: Zac Baney