After lockdown measures were introduced in the UK, I started to think about how I would be able to continue my practice using mediums I normally would; mostly photography and video. As I can't get analogue film photos developed or borrow recording equipment from the university, I had to use my phone. I started just taking photos out of the windows in the flat and some of my flatmates, then I would take short video clips.
Ruby Leeson - Dundee - 11/04/20
Due to spending more time inside, I was thinking more about the things I could see without leaving my flat. There was always a lot of bird activity around the flat but I began to watch them more and appreciate the sounds they make. I thought that the video clips could be useful in documenting the birds, and also the changes in weather throughout the day.
I took videos and recorded sound out the windows over the course of about 3 days, and then edited it together in 2 days. I have also been trying to write down some of my thoughts and observations while in quarantine and I used a page I had written that was specifically about the window in my bedroom as a narration.
I gave myself a narrow timeframe for making this video piece because I didn't want it to be fully resolved. It is more like a visual representation of my thoughts about my window and how those thoughts have been effected by the quarantine.
The script from the video:
From my window I can see the back of the flats on Cleghorn Street, then beyond to Blackness Road and if I lean back on my chair I can glimpse a square of the Tay river between the buildings. Further out, I can see the fields across the river in Fife. Right now, I can see the poly-tunnels for the strawberries. If I lean forward in my chair, there is a perfect view for the sun setting.
Pigeons nest in the roof above my window; I can listen to them cooing to each other. The seagulls prefer to nest on the other side of the building but I still hear them screaming. In autumn and early winter I can watch the geese flying in their arrow formation to warmer weather in the south. In September there are starlings that dance in the purple sunsets.
I never shut my blinds so I can wake up and see the weather. My favourite is when it's really misty or when it's really sunny. When the mist rolls in from the river, the whole city seems mysterious and romantic. Sometimes in summer, the sun is so strong and full of warmth that you can barely tell you're in Scotland.
Lockdown was implemented nearly 3 weeks ago and since then I have rarely been outside. My attitude towards my window and the view from it has changed dramatically. I spend more time sitting gazing out of it, and everything is eerily quiet; usually Blackness Road is busy and I can see the cars going back and forth. The only thing that has stayed consistent are the birds.
Looking out my window now is like standing in the corner of a party where I don't know anyone; I want to go in and enjoy what I am watching from the edges but I can't. It's like looking in a doorway to a fantasy world that I can't quite reach, existing just beyond my fingertips.
The view from my window is the same every day but it feels different in lockdown.