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From my windows

to inside

Windows: Part 4

This dim coolness of my room was to the broad daylight of the street what the shadow is to the sunbeam, that is to say equally luminous, and presented to my imagination the entire panorama of summer, which my senses, if I had been out walking, could have tasted and enjoyed only piecemeal. Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Swann’s way, p.114.

 

Vermeer’s mastery lies in his ability to represent the light coming into his studio from a left-side window, but it is again Edward Hopper that mesmerizes me. ‘Sun in an Empty Room’ (1963) probably stands as a pinnacle of his exploration of sunlight on the floor and walls of an empty apartment, creating rectangular bright and dark shapes that vary with the orientation and shape of the window. The intensity of light and the surfaces it illuminates also affect colour shades, as the effects of light on a green concrete wall will not be the same as on a wooden brown floor. Following these findings, I sought to photograph these effects in my four rooms to reveal how such shades were seen.

Beyond providing light and views, windows serve various practical functions in daily life. For instance, after a shower, we used to open the bathroom window to let the floor dry, and after cooking, both the kitchen and bathroom window were opened to dissipate odours. In winter, the afternoon sun on the closed balcony warmed up the bedroom while in summer, we opened them up to ventilate the apartment and avoid air conditioning. To prevent the door from slamming shut when the windows were open, I used a shoelace to tie the door handle to a metal towel holder, and we would put the mosquito net to keep insects outside, which paradoxically obstructed our view. The same happened when we opened the window for fresh air as we got in turn more dust inside, as if it was inevitable for a window to have this dual role. While windows are mainly a functional element, some may completely lack of practical utility, while others are adorned with decorations, like the large illustrations and Christmas stars we added, leaving us with a positive and fairy touch inside the apartment.

Light effects coming from my windows.

Other functions than light.

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