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Nicole Khadivi

The fourth-floor apartment is a centerpiece in my memory. I’m standing on the balcony, gazing at the distorted horizon, a line that maps out my present from another time. A hot air balloon ascends behind the high-rise buildings. The blue sky seems to mark an end. The closer the balloon gets the bigger it seems. It floats over the sun, covering its rays. The light makes me squint and I’m reminded that the farther I look into the distance, the more evident the layers of time.  

Before my eyes, an endless spiral appears. It extends in every direction, where my center constitutes the present. It bears sequences of times that emerge like layers of transparent exposures located at countless positions on the spiral. Everything unfolds simultaneously.  

I watch the balloon and the sun settle beyond the horizon. While I sleep, the balloon squeezes through the balcony and shrinks so it fits in a corner of my childhood home, where it stays until dawn. I recently learned that dreams are shorter than they seem. I dream of my father.  

Because of the inevitable bond between a parent and child, they share spirals—they share time and memories. No matter when a parent is lost, it does not diminish their presence in their offspring’s spiral. I sense my father’s time to be out of reach, perhaps beyond the horizon, yet ever-present in my present. 

Just before I wake up, the balloon grows back into its inflated shape and is back in the sky. Shortly afterward, I step out on the balcony to witness the world passing by. The horizon encapsulates my spiral, robbing me of my bond to my father’s legacy. Within the transparency of glass, I can bend the representation of the horizon into a sphere and deprive it of its role as a backdrop, as a barrier. However, I can only expand it to a certain point—even the fiction must reach an end. Somewhere, its logic concludes where it no longer promises anything beyond itself. I find it concerning not seeing how the horizon changes, still knowing that the sun will return.

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Seen From Somewhere (2023), Flat glass, metal and rotating light, 150 × 120 × 20 cm, Split Seconds (2023) Video, 13 min
True Horizon (detail) (2023) Flat glass, metal and moving light, 170 × 440 × 50 cm
Seen From Somewhere (2023) Flat glass, metal and rotating light, 150 × 120 × 20 cm
Seen From Somewhere (detail) (2023) Flat glass, metal and rotating light, 150 × 120 × 20 cm