Why do people love windows

How incredibly big this crisis is can be seen from the fact that there are already three images arguing about burning themselves into our brains forever and ever (and probably will too): There is the 3D visualization of the virus itself, round, colorful and prickly; there is the person with a mask over his mouth, messenger of a threat, bearer of a potential danger; but there is also: the window.

Wherever you look now: people are standing at the window everywhere and looking outside. You can spot them on long walks in the residential areas. You can see them on the pictures on the news websites, in the newspapers and blogs, you can see them on Instagram and Twitter. As if everyone had agreed to stand there and look, light candles, paint rainbows on the window and put up all kinds of notes that should and do provide consolation.

There are window concerts, window view initiatives, window dates where people meet and wave. There is Robby Hunke, an ARD sports presenter, who looks at the idle everyday life from his Cologne window, films it and comments like a sports report: "Little going on at the moment, hardly any fans, let's see whether the players at least intervene well here ... "- and then throws a ball down into the street.

Terms like "window talking" are also suddenly in the main news. This is what happened in Cleveland, Ohio, on the US television station "News 5". Here, too, people waving, gesturing, kissing, stroking glass surfaces through closed windows to tell the grandchildren behind the pane that we love you.

In Stuttgart, where people reacted to a trend from Vienna, which in turn was copied from Paris, the Instagram hashtag #Stuttgartfrommywindow (Stuttgart from my window) is flourishing. Cityscapes congregate there that in normal times would not even have made it to the internal memory of a smartphone - let alone the Internet: backyards, empty streets with parked cars, many house roofs with reddish or blue skies above them.

Ordinary banalities that one misses terribly and desperately longs for.

A short excursion into the history of art, where the window as a meaningful interface between inside and outside has often been a topic: at the beginning of the last century with Henri Matisse and René Magritte, later with Edward Hopper and Jeff Wall, and most recently with David Hockney, who made so many window pictures that a volume that has just appeared was almost insufficient to contain them all.

Considered from the Corona year 2020, which makes many things appear in a new light, the above was never about the window itself - or the actual view outside. Windows in art history and the view through them are metaphors, at least most of the time. If you look outside on a screen through a window, you look inside yourself: into fears, hopes and states of mind.

Metaphors? States of mind? Mirroring me? You can't get rid of the feeling that the meaning of the window culture is currently being reversed. You see - first of all - you are really looking seriously outside at the moment. And - secondly - the view out of the window has seldom provided as much reassurance as it does now. If you stand at the window, you notice: the world is still there, the sun is shining and the clouds are flying in the sky. A simple but not insignificant message.

Back in history one more time, to Alfred Hitchcock's film "Das Fenster zum Hof". Jeff, a photographer, sits there with his leg in a cast and in a wheelchair at the window of his New York apartment and is bored to death. Then he observes a murder through the eponymous window on the courtyard, apparently: Buoyancy and variety for Jeff - thrill and suspense.

What there is to experience from the window - that is what Hitchcock was about. Long ago. Now the reasons to look outside are branches swaying in the wind, robins looking for food, neighbors taking away the waste glass (and perhaps waving), rays of the sun that cast shadows, which in turn wander along house walls.

Recently, a woman from Leeds, Northern England, was seen on Twitter, getting so interested in the cat by the window across the street that she reached for a pen and paper. She wrote: "What is the black + white cat called?" A little later, at the window opposite, a note also appeared: "Walter".

Other people make music at the window - for themselves and the neighbors, knock on the window to draw attention to themselves, hang pictures there or just stand there.

A city magazine in Los Angeles has now even compiled motifs of this kind. At first, the magazine quotes the photographers, they were just desperate: How do you photograph people who you are not allowed to get close to? The magazine now comments on the answer they found with their pictures as follows: "It's turned into something of a mini-trend", it has developed into a mini-trend.

And isn't that how it is? Do you experience the space at the window and looking outside as comforting because you spend the rest of the day with a completely different type of window? Look into completely different "Windows": into screens with messages that light up on laptops, tablets, smartphones and televisions - and that constantly remind us of the reason why we are behind the window and not in front of it.

The window as a beneficial anti-Internet. And there is nothing more to say about the new fascination with windows.