In Paris and Berlin, and countless other cities I’m sure, one must press a button or pull a lever to enter or exit the subway train.

Perhaps this topic is too benign, but I don’t think so. I think this moment — where someone has to actively let themselves out of the subway train, represents an incredibly important moment of self-realization. A moment where the rider is no longer as passive labourer, a city-agent, mindlessly negotiating the underground and overground urban labyrinth. The button must be pressed or lever pulled to get out, this is when the rider takes their direction into their own hands — actively selects their route, with missing their stop a consequence of passivity.

When I see people queuing by the subway-train doors just before we arrive a station, I see that their hands are poised, their eyes revealing their concentration and awareness of their lives. And they are ready to take their fate into their own hands — their action being the direct result of their freedom from the metal tube and a necessary step in the continued steps of their day.

The responsibility of opening the door yourself on the subway train — these people are self-realized, they are travelling and alive.

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