Saturday, December 16, 2006

invisible memories

Net curtains: looking out without being seen, preventing others to look in. Lacy interface between the public and the private. Presenting a clean front .

The net curtains were washed frequently with a special detergent that promised to prevent the yellow tinge that net curtains used to acquire over time. Then put up while still damp and rigorously pleated into shape. All pleats had to be exactly the same distance and depth, the net was measured & the folds held rigidly in place with pins. Opening the window was difficult: pins could prick or fall out, the pattern of perfection disturbed. For me, these net curtains were the domestic equivalent of a barbed wire fence. Once, as a teenager locked in by my mother, I decided to escape through the bedroom window and ended up with bleeding scratches on my arms and legs from those hundreds of pins (and the spiky houseplant on the windowsill).

See also:
Pauline Gaervey, Domestic boundaries: Privacy, visibility and the Norwegian Window, in Journal of Material Culture, Vol.10, No.2, July 2005, pp 157 - 176


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