ISSN : 2266-6060

Ongoing

Paris, june 2019.

Another escalator out of order! The situation is both embarrassing and commonplace. Luckily, this time the number of steps is not too high, and I’m not loaded. The resulting disturbance is therefore minimal, allowing me to focus on this mundane experience. Escalators, which frequency is proportional to the size of the underground network, seem to have a certain propensity for regular failures. Why is the technical assemblage of the mechanical steps has not been improved? A kind of call for innovation… But, if one looks at it carefully, the major part of the situation lies elsewhere. In a perspective where there is neither question of failure, nor innovation. No disruption between a normal working state and the sudden switch to a disorder that should be repaired. The sign points to this very different horizon. Contrary to what one might think, despite the immobility of the escalator and the lack of manpower, a process is “ongoing”. And it started a long time ago… long before the escalator stopped. In motion since the very design of the mechanical steps, this process follows the life of the escalator, scrutinizes and gauges it, regularly takes news of its working condition, records its aging and, from time to time, stops the mechanism to repair or change a part. Maintenance is made of these caring gestures, repeated very regularly. Rather than being called upon to help after the failure introduced by a breakdown, it begins with the very thing itself, and only ceases with its end or its abandonment. Even if the escalator is temporarily stopped, maintenance is active. Through it, it will be in motion again very soon.