Being Australian, we are used to wide open spaces and horizontal skylines. Now, living for a sort while in an old red and blonde stone tenement on the South Side of Glasgow, Scotland, the eye has to adjust to verticals and closeness.
This gives an new insight into urban intimacy. Being able to look into your neighbours windows gives the opportunity for domestic connection and the fear of unwanted intrusion giving a permanent intimacy to urban living. Encountering other humans becomes unavoidable, and at the same time interactions are not forced.
These interactions take us away from the facade of personal perfection. Forgetting to close the curtains while wandering around the apartment in your pyjamas sends a signal that yes, like you, I am human – I sleep, wake up totally disheveled.
Looking into our shared backyard, where things aren’t manicured and others’ trash, never ours (!!), is scattered, opens the door to a mutual understanding of the darker and messier parts of our souls. We share an intimate humanity with all its beauty and frailty.