Similar to VREC in the first installment, Horizon invites the viewer on a five-part journey through other worlds and through Dai’s imagination.
We are first greeted by Celeste Gaiera, who challenges us to consider whether we all have an identical representation of ourselves inhabiting some other part of the vast universe. Gaiera and Alexandra Farber then come together from across the galaxy to dance as mirror images of one another – alter egos set against the extraterrestrial backdrop of the Benbrook Dam.
Gaiera and Farber do an excellent job of capturing the notion of a galactic yin and yang; contradicting yet complementary personalities that exist in all of us and have the potential of creating holistic balance.
The rest of Horizon is anchored by Carolyn Judson. She serves as the connector between the next four disparate pieces – Xanadu, Colonization of Mars, March of the Giants, and Fortitude, the finale that features Judson herself.
From an idyllic garden, to the Red Planet, Horizon uses a serial storytelling format to mix themes that are both interstellar and terrestrial in nature. With the benefit of hindsight, I feel as if Dai’s introduction of Judson after the conclusion of the “Girl in the Mirror” misses an opportunity to create a more cohesive story arc for his audience.
Just as The Story of You utilized the first person perspective of a museum tour and VREC cast Dolores as our virtual host, guide, and narrator, Judson’s character could have served as the bookends of our journey through space and myth.
One of the most compelling performances from Horizon is Valentin Batista, Philip Slocki, and Brett Young joining together for “March of the Giants”, a purpose-driven, forceful tour through the streets and landmarks of Fort Worth.
What makes “March of the Giants” memorable are the score of the same name by Francesco D’Andrea, which was reminiscent of the works of Gustav Holst or John Williams, and the narration that provokes us to consider what we would be without the arts. When stating that, “some have called the arts non-essential,” the narrator voices an unmistakable opinion about the manner in which art and artists were marginalized during the COVID-19 lockdowns.