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Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx)

What does your windowsill say about you?

This video is part of a series produced during the 2018 CAFx Summer School. The theme was "Architecture as Social Integration".

The CAFx Summer School, part of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival, brings together students from various countries in the pursuit of architectural exploration through film. The 2018 program was hosted by the small port town of Skagen, Denmark. This location may be viewed as a case study for the effects of migration to a place with a steadily declining population. This provided students with an opportunity to speak with residents and select locations characterized by evidence of social integration, defined by Program Director Susanne Eeg as "facilitating connections between people, making the building (and not the people) talk on camera".

A typical neighborhood in Skagen is filled with colorful homes, accentuated by large glass windows opening to the outside. An unlikely benefit becomes the chance to imagine each home as its own character, defined by various objects placed on the windowsills, such as flowers in a vase.

The relationship between the interior of such a home and how it can be interpreted by a passerby becomes the subject of Christina Voumvouraki's film, "Windowstills", Voumvouraki is fascinated by the difference in something as simple as window design compared to her hometown, and wonders if these large portals can serve as a possible point for interaction among members of the community. She presents a sequence of several homes, focusing on the objects placed on the sills, which include plants, ceramic figures, among others, paired with audio of cars driving by in the neighborhood. In contrast, she also presents video of the same homes during the night, this time placing a bright red rubber buoy inside the home, noting that our focus now becomes the illuminated social spaces rather than the sills.

Voumvouraki's goal is clear: to present bits of the individual and emphasize the contrast between the same spaces they inhabit at the point of a threshold, in this case a windowsill. The windows become ways in which residents can communicate to the outside world through the objects they choose to display. Her attempt to understand these spaces is based on a display of residential windows but her decision to include a rubber buoy in interior living spaces during the nighttime frames is compelling. The buoy can perhaps "absorb interaction energy", which is present when people communicate. As such, can the windowsill become a similar meeting point? If residents communicate through the objects that define them, what is stopping them from opening the window and striking a conversation with a neighbor?

(Story by Pilar Pereyra, The Architecture Player)


Director: Christina Voumvouraki
Project location: Skagen, Denmark
CAFx Architect (Tutor for the project): Susan Eeg
CAFx Director: Lea Glob Sørensen
CAFx Anthropologist: Tine Sønderby
CAFx Photographer: Sidsel Becker
CAFx Scenographer: Maja Ziska

Denmark 2018
Duration: 4'37"