A story of shattered expectations and faltered dreams, told through the photographs of a struggling roadside town called Bliss
This Is Bliss is a transmedia narrative project investigating the vanishing roadside geography and culture of a rural Idaho town named Bliss. The project considers how mythologies of place and happiness collide, and are frequently confounded, in a location with a complex narrative of booms and busts that reflects the complicated history of American Idealism and Manifest Destiny. All that remains in Bliss is two gas stations, a school, a church, a diner, and two saloons to service its 300 current residents. Through a thorough look at the contemporary landscape and its residents, This Is Bliss contrasts romantic visions of the American West with its contemporary reality and considers how the heights of idealism are envisioned on both a personal and cultural level.
"A study of dichotomies, This Is Bliss presents what once illuminated the western landscape with splendor boiled down to its essence, a husk of its former self. There, within a setting draped in bleakness and melancholy, Horvath uncovers the warmth of our humanity.” - Ariel Shanberg, Essay
“The project, like some of Horvath's earlier projects, strikes me as complex, literary, deeply personal, somehow about broader universal themes…” - Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“With This Is Bliss, he has crafted a collection of episodic vignettes set deep within the withered dirigible that is the emblematic American roadside town. Each piece dwells atmospherically within l’heure entre chien et loup, an unsettled juncture when the line that differentiates the familiar from the foreign; the safe from the threatening; the true from the false—the dog from the wolf—is blurred, creating a new whole.” - Ariel Shanberg, Essay
“Altogether, the series is a poetic study of the past, present, and collective identity of place.” - MoCP MPP Entry