Freedom is like a chest

Why is freedom so hard to define? As a kid I used to think about freedom as a feeling of ultimate independency and endless possi-bilities without barriers. Metaphors and imagery such as the wind and anything with wings felt fitting. These metaphors suggest a feeling of being able to move in any direction, and that being free feels like not being connected to anything.

In April 2020, I would have gone to New York City for a few months for an artist in residence, to research the changing definition of what we see and experience as freedom. But suddenly the coronavirus came up and everything got canceled. The virus taped me to my own environment: my country, my city, my home. Suddenly, I wasn't able any longer to take the train or bus anywhere. I had to investigate my own environment and find freedom close to home. I couldn't go to go work and I had lots of free time. It took me a while to find a way to experience freedom, and photographic freedom, because: how could I feel free while being stuck?

I started to photograph the people close to me again, in my studio, from my window and on small walks through familiar places. Freedom was stripped of its arbitrariness, I was always in the same places with the same people. Yet it appeared that freedom was not stripped of its coincidences, because new things emerged again and again.

Now, freedom seems like a chest, in which breathing movements go up and down in determined ways. Human flows move forwards and backwards through their daily paths; their habits and patterns, constantly repeating. When we are free, we fall back into the same continuous habits. Shaping our freedom seems to be following a set pattern.


Perhaps freedom does not only consist of arbitrariness and complete newness, as I always had thought, but can exist precisely because of the ability to make the same choices again, every day.