Land in sight—the phrase implies as much “at last,” an end, an exhale, as it holds expectations for something new. When Christopher Columbus caught sight of the Bahamas through his binoculars it was the end of a three-month sail and at the same time the beginning of the conquest of an entire continent. Columbus stepped ashore and planted the Spanish flag in the ground—now this world was his. For centuries after that, people have planted flags on the North Pole, Mount Everest, the Moon. Today everyone’s sights are set on Mars.
Others have created their own worlds or parallel universes, instead of conquering territory: Michael Jackson’s Neverland, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, and Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. Those territories are like dreams, hallucinations, they function as sanctuaries. They are bigger than the world they exist in. In Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, the character Kaspar describes the room in which he lives—his universe—in relation to the tower in which the room resides: When he looks around the room, wherever he looks, there is his room. But when he looks at the tower from the outside, and then turns around, the tower is gone. The room is thus larger than the tower in which it is located. Kaspar’s view of his room goes beyond the measurable. The idea revolves around something extraterrestrial, something dream-like, spiritual, religious. Like Allah in the Arab takbīr, Kaspar’s universe is not only the greater of the two, but the greater of everything.
The kaleidoscope is the binoculars that allow us to see something limitless, a parallel universe, a room that is greater than everything—Greatland.
Visual identity and storytelling: Sandra Praun & Oscar Guermouche
Commissioned by the design agency Greatland
December 12, 2019