Confinement - sub and Celeste Burlina - (no subject)

(no subject)

sub and Celeste Burlina

Image by sub, 2020.

November 2020

Dear xxxx,

I hope everything is well.

I moved in. It is a bit strange. The space is immense.

The place here is organized so the blue part is my living room, the orange part is the bedroom, the grey part is a kitchen. Clothes and accessories are placed throughout the main rooms. Along the perimeter are small rooms filled with plastic wrapped stuff. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to unwrap them and be covered with plastic. I believe they are clothes, but those hanging all around are more than enough to keep myself entertained.

You know, I still find it necessary to dress up every day. To make myself me. I need to look at myself in the mirror and see the real me, the decent me, the beautiful me. It’s not even that I just enjoy it, I guess I need it.

The idea of losing my identity is terrifying. It took me my whole life to build it, to become a human, to become a man. I don’t want to see a stranger in my reflection. Unrecognizable. Scared of the animal inside, hunting for the beautiful envelope I worked so hard for. Watch out. We can regress into animals in a second. Stick to routines and rituals. Don’t fade away. Stay alive or your identity can be stolen in a second without notice.

But wait, here I could be a rat. I would enjoy this place for sure, rats have a whole different level of adaptation. We should learn from them in the circumstances of this new inhuman condition. I am scared. I miss a mischief. I miss belonging.

The thing I know is that it doesn’t matter what happens between these walls, what matters is that I don’t lose discernment.

We are in this together.



I miss you <3


How are you?

I am stuck in here. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating always the same. Can food come back into my life? I had to arrange myself in here the best that I could. Out and in. Be fast, avoid people. Like a rat. Stocking. Repetition. Like a squirrel. I dreamt of being an animal many times, never believing I could become one. Being an animal. Is that supposed to be a good or a bad thing?

Whatever. No linearity. No order. Can you call this madness TIME?

My brain can’t function like this. It can’t make order. I just exist.

You check the news, spiral on your phone for hours from the comfort of your bed. Sounds like another advertisement. But everything looks like a nice walk down memory lane. Future overlaps with past which overlaps with present, straight back to future again, or is it past?

Remember. Remember. Remember. But is there something to remember?

I have nothing to share. Or is it that the tools I am given are not feasible for me anymore? Images. I can show you how I am ageing in here.

Erase everything that is not right. Erase. Erase everything until it’s perfect.

Well, you know, I started talking out loud. I am talking to you now and I can really see you. I speak out loud, so I keep my language intact, I keep you intact. Words and language. Structure and order. I already started looking like a rat, I don’t want to sound like one.

I miss seeing you and hearing your voice. I can barely remember you. Maybe we can call one of these days? I will love that.

Let me know,


Singing like a nightingale

Dear xxxx,

I am still here, I don’t care anymore how big the space is. There is way too much space for one person. I should not get used to it. I could never afford it anyway. I like to sit here in this corner looking at the empty streets from the front window. As outside, inside everything looks the same. The kitchen faded into the living room, and the living room invaded the bedroom. The color coding doesn’t make any sense. I like it.

Routines, needs, desires, repetition of actions and habits. They shape us, they shape our identities. They are what made us the same in this made up way. Copy of a copy of a copy. Minor differences and shades are left to us to create ourselves. Custom made. This word doesn’t even make sense. They want you to feel special. Uniqueness. But I am just another rat.

There are no events here to make sense of my life. But I don’t need any events in my life, the names of life’s milestones revolt me anyway: birth, graduation, marriage, divorce, we name things and then we tame them. Words, words, words, more words, we need to evolve faster than tameness. I embrace wildness. You need to trust. Trust your nose and your fingertips.

Intrinsic instincts, they are different for all of us. Let’s run away together. Please. Sorry we can’t anymore. But maybe these walls are even better than the “freedom” which was granted to me before. I would have been lost with no manners to hold on.

I don’t take it anymore. I am out of it. Naked. I burned the clothes. I killed a rat.

For now, I am here. I love these walls, I love, I was born from love. Reborn I gained control. Forever yours,


Confinement is a collaborative exhibition curated by gta exhibitions and e-flux Architecture, supported by the Adrian Weiss Stiftung and the ETH Zürich Foundation.

Everyday Life, Withdrawal, Rituals & Celebrations
Return to Confinement

sub is the architecture studio founded by Niklas Bildstein Zaar and Andrea Faraguna in 2017. sub operates as both a design office and research institute, collaborating with fashion designers and artists as well as investigating questions of the metaverse.

Celeste Burlina is a doctor in engineering, writer, set/exhibition designer and multidisciplinary researcher. She is currently working for the architecture studio sub in Berlin.


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