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Window Gazing

Menka Sanghvi
Menka Sanghvi
2 min read
Window Gazing

I love how when I'm looking out at the world through a glass pane, I know intuitively that it is all outside and, for now at least, "none of it depends on me".

"Windows are, in (a) sense, a powerful existential tool: a patch of the world, arbitrarily framed, from which we are physically isolated. The only thing you can do is look. You have no influence over what you will see. Your brain is forced to make drama out of whatever happens to appear. Boring things become strange. A blob of mist balances on top of a mountain; leafless trees contort themselves in slow-­motion interpretive dance; heavy raindrops make the puddles boil. These things are a tiny taste of the bigness of the world. They were there before you looked; they will be there after you go. None of it depends on you.”

Sam Anderson, New York Times

WindowSwap is a beautiful project, a simple and global labour of love between a number of artists. It takes you to someone else's window in another part of the world! I highly recommend checking it out as a warm-up for this exercise. The sense of curiosity, surprise, delight, amusement that the experience induces... I wonder, can we connect with a similar attitude even when it's our own window we are looking out of?

A mindful photography prompt:

Find a window and get comfortable for at least 5 minutes - use a timer if you can. Move your eyes across the full frame, all the way to the edges and corners. If your mind wanders, just notice that and bring it gently back to the view. Remember: none of it depends on you. At the end, you could make a photograph.

Further inspiration:
- School of Life video (2min) on the importance of staring out of a window

Image credits (top to bottom): Samuel, Sue, Jois, Aditi & Marc - artists featured in Window Swap.

Essays

Menka Sanghvi

I'm a researcher, writer, and designer working on the theme of mindful curiosity. Just Looking is a project I started to help myself and others slow down and experience more wonder in the everyday.