In my second-year college dorm, I hung everything I didn’t want to put in the dryer anywhere I could around my room. “It will get ruined!,” I said to my friends who told me that they put everything in the dryer, and that nothing would happen if I did too. I still hung anything I thought the dryer wouldn’t treat fairly on my closet, my bedframe, hooks that hung on my wall, and on my chair.
In many countries, including Turkey, the one I was born and raised in, people hang their laundry outside their windows. Out in the open, for everyone to see, hanging on a rope like there is nowhere else to be. I have been thinking about why people don’t hang their clothes outside to dry in the U. S., mostly for convenience. Around 80% of Americans own a dryer. In addition to this, many towns and municipalities have laws against outdoor clotheslines. I love seeing clotheslines hanging on people’s windows, so I was surprised to hear that some consider it an eyesore. I see it as an insight into people’s lives, and as a way to use public space privately. On the contrary, the US embodies a more individualistic culture that prioritizes speed and efficiency. In a place where waiters ask me if I “want that to go?” after an hour of sitting in a restaurant, when I’m in the middle of taking a bite, it is no surprise that people are in a rush to get their clothes dry. A rush in every aspect of their lives… This is not just specific to the U. S., but it is more apparent there compared to other countries I have been in.
I am a slow eater. Anyone who has ever eaten with me knows this. People seem to point this out, since anything slow is seen as out of the ordinary. Slow eating has its benefits which include better digestion and feeling a higher level of satisfaction with what we eat. We try to optimize everything and we forget that there is a beauty in slowness.
Our desire to do everything rapidly not only affects everyday life, but it also plays a role in climate change. We order batteries online that come wrapped in so much packaging that one would think there is a one-of-a-kind glass dish from the nineteenth century in it. People participate in quick trend cycles and buy clothes that will not last three washes, delivered to their door with the same extra packaging.
Clotheslines extend the life of clothes, which dryers remove a layer of. They serve as a reminder that we can use less energy if we work in harmony with nature, and that “faster” does not necessarily mean “better.” I have been photographing clotheslines for a while now, and made a series out of them which I call Inside Out! This series reflects the transparent, vulnerable nature of clotheslines and shows that there is something beautiful about taking our time, and how incorporating slowness into different aspects of our lives could increase the quality of it.