House & Hedge

All human beings have three sides; public, private and secret.” I’m a little obsessed with this quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and what it says about human nature.

Growing up in the Midwest, my family lived in a modest house on a tree lined street. We knew all our neighbors. There were no fences or hedges dividing us. We didn’t require much privacy, and we didn’t have any secrets. Twenty years ago, I moved to Los Angeles. The myriad ways in which people wall themselves off from others in this strange city fascinates me. Shrubs are sculpted into opaque walls that delineate property lines, conceal windows, and sometimes hide entire homes. Fences along sidewalks transition to electric gates at the driveway. I barely know my neighbors here, and rarely see them outside. I am struck with this contrast from the world I came from. Are they seeking privacy? Are they hiding secrets?