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Friday, 25 January 2019

Rear Window, Dirty Windows, High Window

Conhecidos De Vista by Leticia Lampert is a lovely folding book of apartment blocks in Porto Alegre in Brazil. It's an inside-outside book. One side folds out to show the exterior of the building, the other side shows interiors.

It's a book that is curated by the apartment caretakers. They are the people who gave Lampert access to the apartments. No appointments were made, instead Lampert turned up and tried her luck. And she got lucky.

The images of the outsides spread across the accordion fold so one building merges into another, the anonymous shutters, balconies and ac units blending into one homogenous mass. But it's the people who make the project; they dine, they clean, they change, they look, they smile.

So it's Rear Window Dirty Windows, High Rise (Window), with  Ed Ruscha, and Montparnasse thrown in for good measure.

Flip the page over and you get the interiors, dark lounge rooms with sofas, tvs, and tables and chairs. Again the pictures move over the lines, one folding into the next to show (less successfully than with the exteriors) the communal, shared nature of life. The images come with quotes, of lives shared, bodies seen, allegiances followed; the neighbours who supported the same football team, the woman who invited herself to a neighbour's party when she saw the plates being laid out, a clothes line strung out (and then taken down) between two facing apartments, the 96-year-old who never leaves.

It's a thick solid book, but one that is surprisingly easy to handle and open, an affectionate book on how we live in cities, how we manage (although surprisingly there is no outright hostility in there, and very few mentions of noise) our curiosity when we live in a hive.

Buy the book here.

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