Inspired by the ethos of utopian communities such as Lavender Hill, a queer commune established in Ithaca, New York, in 1973, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. or Habitat One: Regenerative Interactive Zone of Nurture, is a downloadable, participatory artwork taking the form of a social simulation game. The game, in which users become inhabitants of a remote wilderness island—invites players to participate in the creation of a “digital commune.” Dotted with structures of diverse programs and aesthetics, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N.’s landscape operates as a networked, open library to which users can contribute original content for others to consume. Each location within the game’s environment houses a unique sector of content: Go to the forest to leave or pick up information on wildlife or scavenging; visit the kitchen for recipes. Inhabitants are free to roam the island, explore the architectures of the commune, and share their own contributions.
While high-tech and online, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. is neither a neutral platform nor boundless. As with any community, a commune has a flavor and a carrying capacity. First seeded by the Institute of Queer Ecology (IQECO), their invited collaborators, and Guggenheim contributors, and then limited to one hundred inhabitants at a time, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. is an intentional digital space that aims to assemble a playbook for an online and offline world more attuned to the intelligence of ecology, queerness, and sovereign living.
H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. was conceived by the Institute of Queer Ecology (IQECO). Operating as a decentralized collective of creative practitioners, IQECO produces artwork, programming, and exhibitions that draw on queer, feminist, and decolonial theory in order to “make space for imagining an equitable, multispecies future.”
Organized by Alan Seise with support from Laili Amighi and Jennifer Yee of the Guggenheim’s Public Programs department and Troy Conrad Therrien and Ashley Mendelsohn of the Curatorial department, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. was created on the occasion of the exhibition Countryside, The Future. The platform, launched on January 15, 2021, marks the close of the exhibition. In February 2021, the stage at the center of H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. will serve as the venue for live programmatic offerings including workshops, performances, artist talks, and other activations. See the Guggenheim calendar for the schedule.
IQECO’s three-part film Metamorphosis employing the life cycle of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis—such as moths and butterflies—as a metaphor for societal transformation toward a queer, eco-conscious future, was commissioned by streaming platform DIS and was included in the virtual film program OFF THE GRID/ON THE SCREEN that accompanied Countryside, The Future. H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. is the result of conversations with the museum organizers connecting the themes of the film with those of the exhibition to imagine an inspiring and experimental form of public engagement during a period of restricted physical gathering.
iOS X 10.12 or later required
For instructions and tips on downloading H.O.R.I.Z.O.N., visit IQECO’s website.
Game Developer: Matthew Cormack
3D Modeller / Sound Designer: Valerie Caputo
Concept & Production Team:
Funding for the Institute of Queer Ecology is provided by a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.