Looking through the gate
Once in the evening I was passing by a metal gate. It was an entrance to the courtyard of a multistoried building. Two openings on each side of a gate reminded me of a helmet or a mask of a knight. So I imagined myself as little boy, who watches the street through this armor. As if all my childhood I passed by this gate, where my home is. This is kind of a childish idea – imagining yourself as a knight. For a long time I could not let go this idea, I liked it a lot.
Later I have found twelve different gates with similar windows/openings around the town. I took pictures of them, printed them out, cut them out of a regular paper and glued them on a paperboard surface (first picture of a gate was glued to a pizza carton). The size of a printout is chosen that way, so it can approximately be at the same distance from each other, so that you could look through with your eyes. This is why the printouts of gates differ from each other. After the mask was ready, I went back to that one particular gate and waited for a stranger to pass by.
It was exciting and interesting to get acquainted with a new person, who was accidentally walking near that gate. Though in that eventuality there still was some certainty of choice: it should have been an elderly man, interesting appearance – that was enough. The idea behind that – every man, no matter what age, in his imagination can go back to his childhood. He carries his inner child with him, in a way.
All twelve passers-by were very interesting and surprisingly different from each other. The first one asked, if he may have a picture later. The other said:” OK. I will help you, if you can later help me out and take some pictures of the roof in my house. I need to show to the city government that it is in a very bad sanitary state.” The next one turned out to be a photographer. He left his card and said: “I want to see the complete project afterwards.” Another man, with blue eyes, remembered Hemingway and his “Old Man and the Sea”. It was very interesting talking to him. There was a man with a pipe, one with a cigarette, one with a small dog. With one of the men we were talking for 1,5 hours, having started with Bradbury, Tolstoi and Lem.
The pictures were taken with an analogue rangefinder camera Canon Canonet QL, Ilford HP5 film in Kaunas city. On the back side of the gate/mask I was noting the date, name and place, where the picture was taken. Some left their phone numbers. There is also a map, where all the gates are marked.
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