Commentary

A Study of the Window

Into the Temple of the Sun (Photos: Alonzo Riley)

If nothing else, the windows of Cuzco challenge an underlying philosophy that has convinced places like the United States to view them as vulnerable, almost holy objects.  The famous “broken windows” theory of urban degeneration states that a broken window, if left unfixed, will act as a signal, a beacon that indicates a breakdown into lawlessness.

Cuzco, a vibrant, beautiful, city full of life – reveals a different picture. Here, windows have age. Some are broken and patched. Rarely are they immaculate, yet society does not collapse. The windows of Cuzco show greater variability and level of wear than the windows I am used to. Glass is often textured to allow for light but not vision. Others allow air but not insects. Windows often are built with the knowledge that humans like options on a continuum between a solid wall and a naked opening.

Windows act metaphorically to indicate transparency. But they can also be closed, boarded up, or reveal only darkness. Windows as physical objects represent something more dynamic. They are small manifestations of human desire for control and the fact that their needs are always changing. It is fascinating to see how human preference unfolds in so many ways.

Layers of porousness
Layers of porousness.
Textured glass and rosy steel.
Textured glass and rosy steel.
Teal to tea - gradients of life
Teal to tea – gradients of life
Panes of wood and air.
Panes of wood and air.
Airflow through mud and stone.
Airflow through mud and stone.
Window that looks like a door.
Window that looks like a door.
Door to nowhere.
Door to nowhere.
Windows of cloth.
Windows of cloth.
Protect and beautify.
Protect and beautify.
Metal and cloth.
Metal and cloth.
Window of chicken wire.
Window of chicken wire.
Window of time.
Window of time.
Always a way through.
Always a way through.
Majestic layers run deep.
Majestic layers run deep.
Dusk merges twilight nd incandescent.
Dusk merges twilight nd incandescent.
So many styles.
So many styles.
A look outside my room in the Hospedaje La Sambleña.
A look outside my room in the Hospedaje La Sambleña.
A look out from Cafe Cappuccino.
A look out from Cafe Cappuccino.
The cut glass windows were everywhere.
The cut glass windows were everywhere.

 

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