What is a window?

What is a window? We can answer immediately, without thinking too much, and say that it is a simple thing: an opening ripped on a wall, to bring light and air into a certain space. But maybe it is not that, or just that, that makes a window so necessary. What makes it striking and unforgettable is that it is a sort of passage for the eye.


What is a window? It´s a bridge between worlds, an invitation to the circulation of the real, a bond between interior and exterior, a close threshold to infinity – and our eye knows it well. A window leads us into the astonishment. In our lives there are windows that we remember, because through them we looked at the openness of life; through them, time, that mysterious and elusive element, has shown itself wholly in the transparency of the visible; through them we realize that what first seemed to us only a sensory perception of what is outside, was after all a precious probe for us to travel inwardly.


A window is an hermeneutic machine, a complex system of relationships, a model of knowledge. When we open a window, it opens on what? We are inclined to answer with the verses written by Rainer Maria Rilke, also in a question form: “Aren’t you our geometry / window, so simple form / that effortlessly circumscribes / our enormous life?”


(Translated from the portuguese original book: “O pequeno caminho das grandes
perguntas”, by José Tolentino de Mendonça, ed. Quetzal, 2017).

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