Monday, 14 May 2012

Stolen Moments

Film Strip, 11 May 2012 © Yasmine Chatila

In her first post for the Foam Blog, Yasmine Chatila shares a diary exract from her surveillance project.

Chelsea, March 20, 6:35 pm
It is my third night of surveillance from this Chelsea location. So far there are some promising characters. The nature of their qualities disturbs me since they are mostly physically unattractive persons, with blatant sexual behavior, that is not aesthetic in any stretch of the imagination. Three masturbators, one woman and two men, all in separate apartments in the space of two nights. This has never happened before. The night falls, and the windows become illuminated like twinkling christmas lights. The contrast between the blue sky and the warm orange glow of the windows evoke privacy, home and the realm of the familiar. As the night falls I am filled with dread at the prospect of seeing yet another person blatantly masturbating in plain sight, no curtains, lights on, and totally naked. I feel the sexual tension here more than anywhere else, it is not a happy one, there is darkness in it. Like animals behind bars  displaying desperate and tragic signs of neurosis, they furiously jerk their members, looking for solace, for relief.The sirens hum at some emergency. A tiny splinter of the fabric of this city is experiencing tragedy at this very moment. The city moves on, undaunted, albeit slightly annoyed at the assault on the ears.

10:30 pm
A thick fog has landed. Everything is blurry. The city is steeped in orange, its the next best thing to curtains.

10 pm
Thank god no masturbators tonight, so far.

11:42 pm
The American flag flutters furiously against the warm gray sky. Lady liberty is giving me her back, but she is as a consolation steeped in milky brown atmosphere, and I think she looks glorious. Thousand of windows shimmer in the distance. So many stories, so many people. Too bad my lens cant reach them. As for characters, an old man that looks just like santa reads a book on his sofa. His humble inquisition into the pages warms my heart. A few windows to the left and two above the silhouette of a young woman with a bob and a generous figure is framed by a quaint country style kitchen. Photos on the fridge, wish I could see them better.

March 21, 7:03 pm
The night falls on the city steeping it in a sea of black ink. With the flicking of a switch the windows reveal themselves one by one, each character gently offers himself to be witnessed. last night I felt real love feelings for my "santa guy". I am weary of this surge of emotion since I am trying to stay as neutral as possible. If I love "Santa", and am disgusted by the masturbator, I wouldn't be able to absorb the strange beauty that connects us all. Only with this in mind and from this point of view can I investigate the lives of these people . I have my perfect shot of him, so I wont be back to his place anytime soon, but knowing he is there, and seeing his light on from the corner of my eye will accompany my journey into all his neighbors lives.

Yasmine Chatila (Foam Magazine #22/Peeping)

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