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2006 05 13
Rear Window (between 4006 st dominique and 4007 st laurent)
By Suresh Perera


“By its very nature, a window is meant for looking out, not in. A view of the inside from the outside confuses and perverts the ontology of the window and makes it a voyeuristic instrument, as the subject is not conscious of being under external scrutiny. The inside is always definitely somebody’s territory, whereas the outside is anonymous...

An object or place becomes horrifying and unreal when we are able to see through its normal realism...Subconscious, forgotten, and suppressed images seep through the ordinary consciousness dominated by the superego...Architecture, too, leads our imagination to another reality.”

From Juhani Pallasmaa’s reading of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (in Chora 4)

Unlike the suburban house, in which one dwells alone within the inside-ness of the house, the city-dwelling affords a constant, sometimes voyeuristic engagement across many separate insides. Night light opens views, invites responses. Day shadows create curtains of transparency. At the window is a pause, not a delineation of an end: the enclosed alleyways; illegitimate patios with illegitimate herbs; the fire-escapes for smoking; the conversations on roofs; the glimpses of intimacy. The space between two insides is no longer merely the space of outside.

Alec Suresh Perera is an architect living and working in Montréal (
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/13 at 04:58 AM

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