The Lightwell listens to the sounds that intensify inside a building during the first months of COVID-19 pandemic. As people withdrew to their homes, the sounds that come from apartments increased; “private” sounds mixed with “public” sounds that leaked from outside into inside. The film finds a visual representation to this auditory experience by turning the camera into the lightwell of the building where the director lives. With its curtains, windows and pipes; the lightwell is much like a concrete gullet that swallows all the sounds of the pandemic period, unknown to the inhabitants of the building. The sounds of public celebrations of cyclical national and political events also sneak into the lightwell and from there into the so-called nucleus of the private realm, home.
Made during the lockdown weeks in May-June 2020, the film born out a sociologist boredom and curiosity about alternative ways of listening as a methodology. ‘The Lightwell’, especially with its final scene, finds its meaning as a video-work with a focus on the border between the public and the private. The director is participant of a research project that explores the place of sounds within Kurtuluş/Tatavla district’s daily life; and ‘The Lightwell’ also traces the changes in her relationship with her own research practices. With its cumulative screens and inside-building encounters, ‘The Lightwell’ explores the lines between positions of “building inhabitant”, “eavesdropper” and “researcher” as much as the borders between the private and the public.

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