Theory of Broken Windows

A big mess starts with little things. So says the theory of "broken windows"that was formulated in the 80s by two American sociologists - James Wilson and Joe Kelling . A broken window gives impetus to vandalism, while the violation of the common rules of social life often becomes a precursor of lawlessness.

In her art project, Irina Akimova opposes the dysfunctional world of broken windows to the world of normal unbroken ones. There are unlucky destinies and crippled souls behind the broken windows. The hard look of a drunkard, which shows a fig to the whole world, speaks of inner bitterness ("Drunkard"). The cry of an old woman in a broken window is full of either hatred or despair (“Cry”). A woman with the fragments of broken sky above her head is the personification of grief ("Grief"). Each of them has own story, own disappointment, and own pain. The ruins of the church, which are visible through the bullet-punched window, constitute a part of the country's history. Broken windows do not provide the warmth and security that every person and all of us need.

The world of unbroken windows is different. Its coziness cannot be disturbed by the vase of flowers that was knocked down from a window sill by a gust of wind which pushed the window to open (“Gust of wind”). Melancholy of rain outside the window is dissolved by the bright colors of the flower (“Rain”). The warmth of an open window with a children's toy on a windowsill and washed children's clothes on the ropes in front of it, dominates even the shabby house walls covered with graffiti (“Among the graffiti”). The windows of our city, beautiful in their diversity, look at us with their open eyes ("Windows of Kiev"). The world of unbroken windows is full of warmth, hopes, desires and confidence.

The diptych “A pond outside the window” summarizes the author’s thoughts and poses a question to the viewer. What do we want? To look through the unbroken window on the clean surface of the pond with t sun and clouds reflections? Or to see the garbage floating on the water through the broken window? This is our choice. The author's call is clear: Let's glass and paint our windows, turning them into the keepers of peace, goodness and decency.


Behind the broken windows there is no happiness.

They have only sharp splinters,

There, the grief turned off the light

Leaving the void on the shelf.

The broken windows host anger and pain,

And a scream, and a cracked echo,

Which trembles in B flat,

Meeting no interference on its way.

Behind a torn skin of the glass

There is no place for peace and luck.

He is alone, she is alone...

And life goes very differently.

The world of whole windows is clean and strict,

It doesn’t tolerate quarrels and contradictions.

A flower on the windowsill

Straightens its shoulders under the sun.

Let’s paint and glaze

All windows in our own house,

In order to love,

And to find what we are all looking for.

Copyright © Akimova Art, 2021