Elevator Protocol

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Elevators, that common denominator of human anxiety, have a long history. David Trotter reviews Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator by Andreas Bernard:

That’s what elevator protocol is for. Or so we might gather from the very large number of scenes set in lifts in movies from the 1930s onwards. The vast majority of these scenes involve breaches of protocol in which the breach is of far greater interest than the protocol. Desire erupts, or violence, shattering the sociogram’s frigid array. Or the lift, stopped in its tracks, ceases to be a lift. It becomes something else altogether: a prison cell to squeeze your way out of, or (Bernard suggests) a confessional.


Sarah Edwards lives in New York. You can find her virtually (at her blog, scedwards.tumblr.com or twitter, @eddy_sarah) or at the pie shop she works at in Brooklyn, where she would definitely like to serve you a piece of pie. More from this author →