Decameron Row (2020)


You can find Lynne’s film in Bldg #21 (second from left), top floor on left.

As a group of friends separated from one another by the pandemic, we have found that looking in on each other’s lives, even if just through our screens, has been essential for our mental health. We started sending requests to people we missed to send us short, intimate video postcards of their experiences of 2020. We loved the videos that arrived, and we would play them over and over.

In Boccaccio’s 14th-century Decameron, a group of friends avert the loneliness of quarantine during the Black Death by squatting together in an abandoned villa outside of Florence and telling each other stories — 10 people, 10 days, 100 tales. Their stories gave them solace. Since in this moment, global community cannot meet under one roof for comfort and insight, we wondered, how could we gather people from all over the world into one neighborhood, onto one street, where they could share their disparate responses? In this idiosyncratic, virtual place, the curious could click on a window and peek into each others’ lives, much like we had already been doing with one another.

Decameron Row is an experiment in community. We’ve been deliberate about diversity and geographic variety, but we’ve chosen to be guided more by intuition, the generosity of others, and happy accidents than by curatorial intention. The result is a quirky and incomplete record of this strange time. We hope you find it diverting. New videos will be added weekly through the summer until all the windows are occupied.

With gratitude to everyone who so whole-heartedly donated their time and heart to this effort.

Itamar, Stefanie, Juan, Joe, and Sherry THE DECAMERON ROW TEAM