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This one is for those of you who want more information so if you don’t want more information, stop scrolling.
OK, so now that it's just us...
This is a video of me looking out of my window projected onto my window.
Meta I know.
When first prompted with this project , I decided to choose this window because I can sit anywhere in my room and look out of it. I really like laying in bed, so the idea of doing homework from bed was appealing.
Actually, my doctor told me to stop spending time in bed unless I am sleeping, because I haven’t been sleeping well. So I need to clean up my sleep hygiene.
From my bed I can look out the window and see the driveway, the sidewalk, and the street.
From the driveway, the sidewalk, and the street people can see me in bed, seeing them.
At moments it feels very cinematic, like I’m waiting for a long lost lover or an informant or something like that. The trope of women waiting at the window resonates loudly in my head.
Like I'm waiting for someone to come and tell me that an important man, maybe my brother or my lover, is dead.
Speaking of dead lovers, When I first learned the term “widow’s walk”, I didn’t make the connection between the words and their meanings. But now whenever I see a widow’s walk I think about a gloomy day, a sailor at sea, an anxiety.
It also makes me think of Mrs. Ramsay from To The Lighthouse
When I’m looking out my window, I don’t like it when people know I’m looking at them. As they approach I avert my eyes, or lean away. I would rather not create a moment to acknowledge we’re both watching each other.
In college I had an incredibly attractive and vain friend. Once, when we were on a train together he noticed an older woman was looking at him. “I’m going to close my eyes so she can look at me more comfortably,” he said. “Just to give her a treat”.
On the topic of vanity--let's take a moment to look at this video
Just to give you a treat
When I’m in my room, I don’t try to make it easier for people to look through my window. In fact, I often keep my curtains closed so that people can’t see in.
I’ve never been a particularly private person, but I don’t love the feeling of people being able to see me all the time, especially when I’m not aware I’m being looked at.
Sometimes I love being looked at. When I google myself most of the top hits are images of myself that I’ve created.
In an essay written my Emily Ratajowski, she discusses her experience of trying to reclaim her image. It's really good. You should read it.
From my bed, when my curtains are open, sometimes I make eye contact with people walking their dogs or the mail woman or a neighbor. If I notice people looking into the window, I usually look away until they’ve passed. Their gaze doesn’t feel intrusive, so I don’t feel like I need to let them know they're being watched. I’m ok with them looking in, and don’t need to confront the looking.
In this video you can see me looking away from people looking at me.
There is a man named Sapphire that sometimes lives in the bushes outside my window. He has caused quite a stir in my neighborhood, starting fires in people’s driveways, taking off his clothes...Sometimes I see him out my window.
The other day, while I was making my bed, we made eye contact. At first I looked away, but then I looked back at him. I wanted to be clear that I was watching him watching me.
The power dynamics in that moment were tense. I am housed, he is unhoused. I am a woman, and he is a man. I am in my private space, and he was looking in on it, with out permission or consent.
The idea of private and public is very gendered. In the 18th & 9th century, the binary between private and public and female and male grew in conjunction with each other. Women occupied private space, while men occupied public. However men could move between public and private, and were equally welcome in both spheres.
When I made eye contact with Sapphire, I was trying to be clear that I was in control. That I saw him seeing me, and that I was ok with it, allowing it. I was inserting myself into the situation to protect my privacy.
The ironic thing is that if he wanted to he could look at my instagram and see me in much more intimate ways.
But now, let's turn our attention back to the video that has been quietly playing in the background.
A huge face on a window is not exactly the definition of personal privacy. Enlarging my face, forcing it into public view.
And yet, it does bring privacy, as it acts as a screen protecting me from the gaze of others hoping to look in. They see me, looking out at them, but they don’t see me.
I mask myself
If you're reading this you're really in it for the long haul so I'll get heady with you.
I hope you enjoyed looking at me.
I enjoyed looking at you.