If you have felt trapped for a long time, then well, you must live in America in a largely thoroughly handled epidemic. Basically: the same here. But if you get bored of looking out the same old window frame with the same old exit, the same old pigeon, and the same old couple who really only have sex all day (like, you have curtains — use them), we have an easy solution: Swap windows.
What is window conversion? It’s a quarantine project started by Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, where you open a new window about somewhere in the world. The view you get can be from a window in Ukraine, Australia, Portugal, Hong Kong — window swaps are completely random and open on every continent. If you’re fed up with staring at someone’s backyard waterfall in Singapore, you can switch to someone’s backyard balcony garden in Munich or listen to traffic in Beijing.
And if you’re curious about how that might happen—because yes, it sounds a little voyeuristic—don’t worry. This is a very voluntary platform: you can send a 10-minute horizontal HD video about your window and frame, including your name and location to get credit. All windows, windows, and scenery are warmly welcomed!
What you get on either side of the glass is a kind of ASMR experience that meets virtual travel simulations. For those socially distant in an urban area, many granites, many pigeons, picturesque natural scenery can be a huge motivation for your mental health. There is even research on how simply looking at natural signals and green images can help reduce stress levels. For those stuck with their parents in the suburbs indefinitely (already there), you might just need a rainy London skyline and brown flats. We all yearn for something.
And if your problem is about wandering, then this does not even need to be the only window that leads to different positions. Swap Windows calls for Windows in the world of The Paris Review, which has since been somewhat replaced in Windows around the world: 50 writers, 50 views ($11). It’s all about taking a deep breath and moving to somewhere, anywhere that’s not here. Or maybe more pressure, feeling connected.
Maybe it’s because I’m more at home, but there’s something specific that I recognize from Window Swap. This is a reminder that not only the world is vast, but the world exists inside others. The reality is that this is the life and reality of the people who really come to me. We are experiencing an epidemic that feels very small and endless, an epidemic that is limited to luxuries that we once considered evident. But we can still have some new perspectives, change our views. We can still look at the world of others and technology can act as a support person until we meet again.
All of that and the change of scenery is just an interesting, pleasant whirlpool when the escape becomes tiring. I love my wailing pigeons, but those rusty iron bars on the fire escape sometimes really disappoint me.