The Clearing in the Forest by Richard Dyer
Central to Martin Heidegger’s meditations on ‘being’ was the notion of the ‘clearing’ in the forest, a glade of light – the German for clearing is Lichtung, literally lighting. He conceived of it as an ‘opening’ through which non-human entities could enter our world, made visible by a process of ‘coming to light’, in the presence of the human form of being which he termed Dasein. The clearing is of course a metaphor, as is the notion of non-human entities; they are all that is in the world apart from ourselves, all that is strange because it is not us.
he artificiality of the screen is counterpointed by the evocation of nature; an uneasy confrontation between what ‘belongs’ and what does not. This uncanny intrusion, which recalls a still from the filming of The Sacrifice by Tarkovsky in which a large white rectangle of fabric, used to reflect light, appears next to a lone tree,7 visually jolts the notion of the sublime landscape, confronting it with an alien geometry, causing an existential caesura in the philosophical and psychological fabric of the landscape.