Vanishing Point

Perspective approaches tend to have a “line of horizon”, which is often implied. There the unknown uncharted territory starts. It is where the vikings feared to fall off the earth if they travel that far with their long-boats. This line, directly opposite the viewer’s eye, represents objects “infinitely” far away. They have shrunk, in the distance, to the infinitesimal thickness of a line. It is analogous to (and named after) the Earth’s horizon. All paths converge on the horizon, not all have the same vanishing point.

When do things really vanish? When do (personal) perspectives disappear? Which choices, from our current standpoint, do seem to converge or diverge in the future? Who says that things are parallel if they do not look like? If we are putting ourselves in someone else´s shoes, how do we decide to break through, at the point of convergence?

For a version of a final decision in a car see the marvellous 70ies classic “Vanishing Point”  (1971) by Richard C. Sarafian.

About the choice of setting a geometrical reference to guide one´s interpretation: Any perspective representation of a scene that includes parallel lines has one or more vanishing points in a perspective drawing. A vanishing point is a point in the picture plane π that is the intersection of the projections (or drawings) of a set of parallel lines in space on to this picture plane, referencing the viewpoint of an observer. Human perspective is optically converging there in one or more points, even though the lines might be only parallel.

Do we only perceive or reach a vanishing point? Do we vanish, or our decisive moments?

[Herwig Kopp © 2013 “Vanishing Point” excerpt: first 10min of 28min duration of exhibition length]

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