Stills from Alfred Hitchcock's
Rear Window (1954) und Jacques
Tati's Playtime (1967)

Screens: voyeurism vs. exhibitionism

In recent architecture the balance between the apertures (to let the daylight in, to look out) and the protective walls (to maintain privacy) has shifted towards an almost total transparency.
This creates a new ambivalent relation between the people behind and outside the windows.
The once explicit boundary between public and private space that was the precondition for the conflict in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) has been replaced by an interaction between voyeurism and exhibitionism that has not yet found its social rules.
Jorge Furtado has delightfully exemplified this new ambiguous relationship between privacy and public space in his film O Homem que copiava (2003): the male protagonist of the film secretly watches a young woman who lives in the house next door. But he is not aware that everything she does behind the windows of her apartment is performed for his eyes only.

From: Stefan Koppelkamm, »Screens«, in: Stefanie Diekmann, Winfried Gerling, Freeze Frames. Zum Verhältnis von Fotografie und Film, Bielefeld 2010, S. 99 ff.

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