In August of 2012 I moved into an apartment in Florence, Italy. I spent a semester at the Florence University of the Arts in an intensive Visual Communication program. You can find some of my classwork here, but this piece was inspired by an architectural feature I've not seen anywhere else in the world.
In addition to the normal shutters or blinds you might find on any window, many of the apartment buildings in central Florence were equipped with an additional layer of blinds outside the windows themselves. They blocked more light, and provided more security than the locks you usually found on windows in this part of the city. Most, if not all, of the residential properties in central Florence are very old. Window locks are frequently warped, broken, or difficult to use. Preserving and repairing the older hardware is always preferable to updating it, as the aesthetic and lifestyle that these details keep alive is far more valuable to most Florentines than some fancy new security gizmo.
I tend to agree with their mindset. This sort of constraint opens up the culture as a whole to creating interesting solutions to the problem of insecure windows. Some buildings have iron bars over their windows, others limit how wide the windows can open, but others still employ these wooden slat blinds.
Still exhausted from a night spent drinking terrible margaritas I opened my eyes and looked around the room. I crashed at a friend's apartment, on a "bed," of cushions stolen from the couch. The wooden blinds were closed and secured to the masonry window-sill, and the morning sun was throwing razor thin bands of gold into the room. The visual was surreal. As though I was looking at a freeze-frame from Tron, the furniture, the human beneath the blankets on the bed across the room, the walls, desks, were all cast with perfectly straight, perfectly parallel lines. They coaxed out tiny details in the surfaces, contours and dents in the walls.
Tiny claustrophobic nooks glowed as the light bounced back and forth in their confines. The bands of skin that were caught by the light glowed deep red like lava.
Later that night, I set to work trying to capture that feeling digitally.