November 15, 2014

It is morning and the seven story apartment building in the suburb is quiet. When entering the building there is two ways to move up. go straight and take the stairs or you can go to the left where you will find the elevator. An elevator is a small room that will move you vertically up and down. You will find two buttons on the wall indicating if you want to go up or down. After pressing you wait for the small room to come and pick you up. The doors will open and close automatically. When inside you choose your destination by pushing yet another button with a number that indicate the different floors in the building. This elevator is opaque and silent. You can feel a tug when the journey begin but otherwise there is no sign that you are moving at all.

In a way it is the core of the building. Collecting people and things they bring with them when they enter and forcing them together in a room before they spread into their private apartments. Like a bottleneck in a stream it forces your speed to adjust. Making you wait until it is done with other assignment and the doors open and it allows you to rest during the trip. There is a lot of mechanism and technology surrounding the elevator but for most people it will always stay invisible. We cannot se the mechanics and can only trust that it will work and hope that we wont get stuck. If the elevator makes an unexpected stops for some reason there is button to help you contact the outside world. Use the button in the left corner, the one with a symbol of a bell on it. If you press it a voice will appear in a speaker to make sure you get assistance.

There is no window in this space. No way to relate to the outside. But there is a mirror in this elevator. If you are alone in the there you will probably look at your image, fix your hair maybe check your smile. If your neighbor travel with you, you would probably ignore the mirror image. Because the elevator is a place that create a special situation where some typical patterns of behavior are shaped. When you stand close to people you don’t know and you have nothing apparent to look at, nothing to do for 30 seconds or so it can make many people very self-aware. Put their hand in their pockets, look up in the ceiling and always standing back to face or side to side and avoid a front to front confrontation. If it is a neighbor of yours and the elevator is not full you can turn to front to side and share some common phrases.  Se the example of a conversation

– Oh thanks for holding the door. What a weather! I don’t remember seeing the sun for so long?

– Yes I know it is terrible. You are also going to the fifth floor?

-Yes I am.


– Have a good day!

– You to!

Text of inspiration Bruno Latour, ‘Technology is Society Made Durable’,

/Emili Norén


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