ISSN : 2266-6060


Marseille, July 2023

It’s been a long journey, so when you arrive at your destination, all you want to do is go back home. Nevertheless, the mauve background of this sign catches the photographer’s eye, especially as maintenance is usually invisible.
What is striking at first glance is the perfect fit of the double leaf to the glass door. While the tape was cobbled together to distract passengers, the written word is an integral part of this technical environment. Then, beyond the icon calling for passengers not to pass through, it’s the text that is intriguing: in large bold capitals, the maintenance message; at the bottom, less large but still in bold capitals, the call for passengers to understand; in the middle, a text for passengers who have not been content with the main message of the writing. We then fall into an apparent paradox: where are the “teams”, where is the “work” in progress to make this portal work again? Sub-contractors, specialised teams, rare components, scheduled maintenance – thousands of choices and organisational processes are covered by this sentence, but the traveller will know no more.
This sign can therefore be reduced to a highly polished piece of communication, designed to avoid irritating passengers or generating bad publicity for the train company. But this evening, we’re being generous: we think it’s more a way of making visible, in a very public place, the daily tasks carried out by thousands of maintenance staff.

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