*Note: For more information on the prompt that inspired this essay please click HERE
This is a photograph from the window of my residence. This is a photograph taken late in the night, the only time when I really occupy my residential space. This is a photograph of the clean lines and the buildings directly southeast of my perspective, complete with the light clouds sitting in the sky, ready to bring colder weather to an otherwise sunny Los Angeles basin.
Faint fluorescent lights illuminate the small pockets of living space in the buildings directly south of me; green dins emerge from unoccupied rooms in the buildings across. The darkness of the night sky percolates the sensor of my camera; skinny tree tops arise to provide a sense of nature in this otherwise heavily developed hill west of the creek that once naturally flowed to Sepulveda Boulevard and to the Pacific Ocean under the daylight.
Every day, more specifically, every night, I return to glance out the window of my room. All I see are people mingling, and lights grazing from the sides and bottoms of the panorama. If I had not stopped to take a photograph, I would not have thought about the strict rigid lines governing the architecture found in the vicinity. I would not have given thought to the low hanging clouds giving rise to mild weather for the rest of the week. In terms of the deeper meaning, if available at all, I’m seeing the perspective of the outside from the inside of my camera, all captured while standing by the window and extending my hand out into the open air. The great diagonal window frame occupying the middle of the photograph intersects the perfect orthogonality of the buildings farther out; the unnaturalness of the window frame reminds me that the world need not be perfectly linear from the ground up.
Someone once said, life is far from linear and closer to infinity. Though infinity is not captured here in some visible sense, the nonlinearity is visible to the naked eye. The precisely angled corners and smooth lines defined human scale architecture and its supposed inhabitability and pleasing aesthetics. The question now becomes, what of life outside of boxed corners and lines marking the end of one panel to the next? Why must containment happen within straight lines and beams that interfere with the nonlinearity of life and the mind?
Prior to writing this, I had not posed these questions before, seeking to analyze my relationship to the environment I return to every night. My absence from my living space until the very depths of night explains my desire for nonlinearity and freedom from containment. I spend my days in other areas like the slopes of the Santa Monica mountains adjacent to the tributary that fed and continues to feed Ballona Creek, flowing with the water that refuses to be channelized in one specific course. Passing time elsewhere, whether inside a box or out in the great expanse under the perpetually blue Southern California skies, reflects my need for spontaneity and oppositions to rigidity found in and near the place I sleep. I will forever seek an environment that defies pure lines and perfectly right angles and instead search for places of adventure and delineations with time and space.
Post submitted by Courtney