In case you are wondering, "D" is my husband -- Dave Liu! As you've probably noticed, I don't update this blog often but I may post more as I've linked this to my Google+ account.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

UP, DOWN, ACROSS: Elevators, Escalators, and Moving Sidewalks

D loves to travel, and takes lots of photos wherever he goes. He took one of the Travelator in Hong Kong (longest escalator in the world) and it is now being shown in a National Building Museum exhibit called "Up, Down, Across: Elevators, Escalators, and Moving Sidewalks". It's also featured in their companion illustrated catalogue. An excerpt:

"As these devices [elevators, escalators, and moving sidewalks] have transformed architecture, so have they influenced our perceptions of human mobility and public space. Their continuous motion and the ever-changing perspectives they afford to riders can suggest cinematic experiences. Perhaps that is why the elevator has become a popular setting for intimate encounters, threatening actions, and humorous confrontations in film. Ironically, this medium, which is often preoccupied with the display of heroic rescues and grisly deaths, sometimes relies for dramatic effect on the malfunction of a device that is by far the safest method of transportation.
Viewed in their historical and design contexts - as mechanical systems, through their diverse uses, as the inspiration for new architectural forms, and through their presentation in film - elevators, escalators, and moving sidewalks become objects of fascination and vehicles for discovery. Though these devices are mundane by virtue of our familiarity with their daily uses, they have radically transformed our buildings, our cities, and our lives."

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