She used to sit alone for hours gazing outside the window. The view was from the condominium across the street. A building identical to the one she was living in. These twin buildings were facing and mirroring each other, becoming the edges of those who live inside them.
The window frame enclosed a small area of the endless façade of the building. Its façade gave the impression of a flat piece of paper with countless orthonormal rectangular holes. Lacking in depth, almost shallow, this enormous wall left only to imagination what could be happening behind it.
Something that was unknown.
The only proof of life inside the opposite building was through the opening and closing of the windows. The façade was ‘blinking’ in a specific rhythm throughout the day. This sole exertion indicated life within, and so she was filled with optimism that her only way out to the outside world was not so empty and shallow but indeed a vessel of life.
She enjoyed observing the temporal change of the façade of the building. It was an amusing game to her. More like a playful interaction between her and the life within the opposite building, outside the limit of her own point of view. She perceived the façade as an enormous grid for noughts and crosses, and so the open windows were altered to noughts, whiles the closed ones to crosses.
So this was the way she was living and so this was the way she felt that others were living as well. It was her and the rest of the world. Carnal entities with their existence based in reciprocity where they can be reversed and intertwined with each other. Corporeal beings constituted of general visibility and bodily reflexivity, therefore the ability to see meant to be seen in reverse.
These were the thoughts that occupied her mind and started to feel that there must have been a reversed gaze behind all of those windows across hers. By standing behind an open window she kept feeling as being watched by someone whose eyes she had never seen. In this position she felt being altered into an object for vision, to be seen and perceived by the others that lived inside the opposite building.
The two buildings were identical mirrored vessels of life, but the buildings themselves were soulless constructions, empty nets that in order to be filled they had to hold inside the souls of their residents. They were not merely buildings, but rather a collection of human souls, therefore a cage where everyone was kept captive. Their only way out was through the regions that were not filled, the spaces enclosed by the window openings.
By being frontal and mirrored, the windows of the two buildings became themselves mirrors as what they reflected were self-portraits projected to the outside world. And this is how she saw him. These two entities were a mirror for each other and functioned existentially as objects to be seen as well as subjects that can see. The window frames became the limits of endless projections of the inside to the outside.
He, looking inside the frame of her window, was so fascinated by the notion of capturing her. Enclosed by frames and cut out from the total experience of vision she became a target. His eyes were functioning like guns, targeting the excised by the window frame, piece of her whole entity.
He captured her by the complete absorption of her otherness and the simultaneous injection of his individuality into her. He projected himself into her and by liking what he was seeing, his own reflection, he reached to grab and kiss her.
But the more he was reaching and the closer he was getting to her, he felt more and more repelled by his ‘creation’. He transformed her into an empty vessel in which he blew into all the smoke and ugliness of his own soul. She ceased to be beautiful, because she ceased to be someone else and she became him.
His hopeless attempt to reach her and get near her did not prosper. He stumbled and fell and dragged her with him. They fell on the ground, the interspace of their buildings and their gazes, outside of the edges of their own closed spaces. And there they lay in this habitable space consisted of temporality, motion, interaction and hapticness. In this position, they were finally able to see in one another the wholeness and the otherness.
That was the time he realized the callousness of his actions and he exclaimed:
‘This is our place. This is where we should stay. The interval of these two rigid thresholds is our home. This street is our dwelling and it’s perfect! The sky is the roof, while the stars and the sun are the lightings. The facades of the buildings are the walls of our compartment. Lastly, the open windows are the cornices of interchangeable self-portraits of the rest of the members of our family.
Now, in this position, I can see you and I can see both of us clearly.’
Gianna Papapavlou – storyline
Katerina Psimmenou – video editing