Stolen Moments Stories 03
Yasmine Chatila is back to share another diary extract from
her surveillance project.
9:45 Greenwich village, September 10, 2012
Tonight I need to make order. I sit before a million different
windows lit with life. They all have a powerful draw and I need to
create a filter. A different way to slice the information, a
different cross section of reality, to see if a new facet is
revealed. I decided that I will only observe women for the rest of
The first window my lens fall upon is of a woman sewing while
wearing a gray silk negligee, she is concentrating so much that her
entire body seems to be at the service of her string and needle.
The light is framing her from above. If I had hired her and staged
her she could not be more perfect or better lit. It's pretty ironic
that in a city where we, as women, are in competition with men for
control and power still end up sewing in our silk negligees. Maybe
that is why she is so determined about her needle, she will sew
better than any one has sewn before, better than her grandmother or
her great grandmother before that. That is how we are.
A giant Harvard poster hangs on the wall, it takes up half the
space on a pretty brunette's bedroom wall. She is efficiently
folding laundry and I get a feeling she is enjoying it.
A few floors down and two windows over is a woman lying in a
twin bed with hospital blue sheets. She has a stuffed white polar
bear next to her, her blanket carefully tucked on each of his
sides. She has something small in her hands, I can't see what it is
but she is staring at it very intently. There is a crucifix above
her bed, it is ruby in color and it matches her equally ruby hair.
A painting of a rural landscape hangs above her bedside lamp.
In another building near by there is a woman carefully drying
her face, she is blotting not rubbing, I admire her discipline.
Blue bottles shimmer in the electric light. Such an artificial
color and yet it reminds me of the Caribbean sea that is so far
from our muddy city waters. She opens a jar of moisturizer, and
begins to vigorously moisturize her face. She looks like she is
praying, rubbing away her sins, asking for redemption.
A blond with red rimmed glasses stares at herself in the mirror.
Her apartment is full of plants and a dart board hangs proudly in
the center of her living room.
A woman sits in a rocking chair. The yellow lamp illuminates the
back of her neck and chair. I know this place, the smell, it is all
incredibly familiar, yet I've never met her . She must be 75 or 80
years old. She rocks her chair next to the window as she would if
she lived in a country house or next to the sea and was listening
to the sounds of crickets at night. She is listening to sirens,
chatter and the endless stream of cars. I wonder what she is really
A woman sits on her bed, she is staring at the wall across from
her. I sit with her in silence as she stares.
A very thin brunette with beautiful skin is cradling a man, he's
got his hands all over her, she is in control.
A blond middle aged woman stares at her tv set. She looks as
though she is dressed for the opera. The room glows with red light
as her face turns green and turquoise from the tv, there is
something regal in her posture.
A young woman peeks at me from behind her curtain, she could not
know I can see her. Clearly she is playing with the idea that
someone out there could be watching her. She is naked, and not a
day over 15. She is trying on different outfits and posing in front
of the mirror. She turns around again, facing me directly, I wonder
if she can feel someone watching her. I feel guilty and turn away
as the night gets denser and more irreversible, and the windows
fade to black one by one.
Yasmine Chatila (Foam Magazine #22/Peeping)