I have a theory. Linda and I were sitting in the Keg the other day and I noticed that, even there, practically everything in my view that was of any importance or interest (until the food came) was in a narrow strip around me. Even most of the lights were hanging down into that strip so you didn’t have to look up to see them. So what I’m beginning to see is that when our eyes leave the steak they normally look just about exclusively into a narrow horizontal strip! Of course, when we’re involved in something very close, like food or words, that doesn’t apply. But nearly all things in the middle distance, from say 10 to 100 feet away, pretty much have to be inside that narrow horizontal strip around us, the centre of which is pointing at the horizon. We’re used to focussing on that strip because, in practically every situation we find ourselves, most things are inside it. Why? Because things in the intermediate distance have to be inside it. The angle below it, from the bottom of the strip to our feet, is mostly floor, or the table-top only a few inches from our eyes. Close objects, closer than the intermediate distance, are either blocking our view totally or we have to look down at them. Things in the
far distance, on the other hand, unless we’re standing out on the prairie in Saskatchewan, are up in the sky. Which, in any case, is usually blocked by a boring ceiling. And who but a jailbird studies a ceiling.
So we have developed a horizontal-strip aesthetic. We like them because that’s where the good stuff is. What we look down at we already have. What we look up at is beyond our reach. What’s in that horizontal strip is what we want.
Proof of the beauty of horizontal strips is on the top of each page of the website.
All photos were taken by Poetry Night co-founder Erik Martinez Richards.