The boundary between public and private is socially and politically maintained through the regulation of behavior. This boundary weaponizes shame and abjection, as tools of a surveillance culture, to silence divergent narratives and maintain dominant social frameworks. My work explores this boundary between private and public, as I interrogate the value of this delineation, and who benefits from its construction. I find thin places where the border between these two spheres is less clearly defined such as a curtain, or a ciphered letter. Thin places demarcate a specific point in physical space that separates the theoretical realms of the intimate and the communal.
These veils draw lines between bedroom and sidewalk, diary and newspaper. They quickly and flexibly remove the possibility of surveillance, making space for deviancy and a reprise from self-policing. These are locations that pique people’s curiosity as forbidden information, the secrets of the intimate, is so easily accessed. With a simple application of force, a cipher can be decoded, a curtain can be pulled aside. By juxtaposing people’s voyeuristic desire to peek into someone else’s intimate information against their expectations of how they are supposed to occupy public space, I examine this invisible, regulatory barrier.