Knowing that you are being observed from outside your home window is a terrifying feeling.
Looking at someone from outside their window is, however, not illegal. And I don’t think it should be.
Windows are a legal ambiguity. There is, in society, a tacit agreement in regards to them. One can have a quick glimpse inside if it’s a living room, preferably avoid looking it if it’s a bedroom, but life continues as pedestrians walk across windows constantly and everyone hopes their privacy is respected.
Windows of New York is a website that posts, every week, a picture of one of the city’s windows -seen from the outside- and its exact address.
The only remark given by Jose Guizar, the creator of the site is “I am a graphic designer living in New York and I like windows”.
The design of the website is not fear inducing in the very least; the depictions of the windows are in fact so pretty and colorful that they could easily be hanging on the walls of a 12 year-old girl’s room. All –or most- of the windows chosen to be drawn are somewhat interesting; Windows of New York does add an extra interesting layer to the city. There is an obvious graphic design value in their representation. There is no apparent relationship between the life that goes on inside any of them.
But unarguably, someone starred at a specific street-level window for much longer than the social conventions allow and is inviting us to do the same. Should we be uncomforted? Perhaps not, but what if the site focused on lace curtains that can be seen from the outside, instead of interesting moldings?