Welcome to Elevator World – Video Essay by Mitchell Rose

Welcome to Elevator World – Video Essay by Mitchell Rose

There is an entire culture and politics behind riding elevators and escalators. In 1999, Mitchell Rose created a computer-animated essay on the spatial politics of elevator riding. This short film won the Grand Prize for Best Short at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The video walks you through the initial stages of riding an elevator, which involves calling the elevator with great anticipation of the ride up or down. The video then explains the culture inside of the elevator with other passengers. The narrator in the video describes the elevator experience as a random gathering for temporary fellowship of quietude. He also explains how an elevator is a place of solace and tranquility, giving each passenger a brief moment of peace from the outside world. In Elevator World, spatial harmony is the selfless goal of all who dwell therein.

Based on Rose’s video essay, there are two important factors in elevator world: Spatial Harmony and Aesthetic Balance. Whenever a passenger exits the elevator, a new order is formed. This order will give each passenger an equal amount of space. This is Spatial Harmony. When a new passenger enters the “community”, the new passenger is welcomed and the other passengers will adapt and reform. This is Aesthetic Balance.

Who would’ve known that a brief elevator ride had such dynamics to it? The video is quite comical, yet informative.

Check out the full video here.

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