ISSN : 2266-6060

Formats

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Singapore, february 2017.

In this building of an international company, one has to show her identity card at the entrance booth in order to go a step further. A passeport should work. Yet the desk clerk hesitates, then asks again for an identity card. My passeport does not equal my ID at a juridical level, since it is required to circulate beyond national borders. But this is the document that certifies my identity in a foreign country. Then I understand the juridical equivalence is not at stake here. Actually, the format of the document is too large. The desk clerk can’t follow the usual procedure: a mere gesture by which he associates each identity card to the swipe card and its number in the appropriate folder. It is generally assumed that standardisation comes with industrial and merchant virtues. The production of goods with the same properties makes it possible to distinguish them from others products, of lower quality, worn out or forged. But the omnipresence of standards in most of situations is often overlooked, and the ways in which they contribute to organize the course of action as well. To exchange the swipe card for my passeport, the employee had to attend the entrance booth in person and to certify we had a meeting together. The sudden appearance of a cardboard document and the frame of a mere, well-adjusted formality is a bit disturbed.