ISSN : 2266-6060


Paris, October 2023

As with mobile phones, some electronic objects have become permanent extensions of the workplace. On a train, ticket inspectors are now equipped with a small connected terminal, which can be used to receive and send information, find out whether each seat is reserved or not, the names of all passengers and their position in the train. For ergonomic reasons, this terminal is small and light. And that’s where the problems start.
This optimal design overlooks an essential element: its qualities become flaws as soon as the person to whom it is assigned loses track of it. Blending in to such an extent as an extension of the body increases the propensity to fall into oblivion. So to remedy this, like the hotel key-ring described by Bruno Latour, it needs to be made heavier, more cumbersome, to stand out from the background in the perceptual field.
To perform all this, nothing could be simpler than a fluorescent fabric label, firmly attached to the terminal, on which the white capital letters stand out brightly. And yet the object seems abandoned at the entrance to the coach. This is not the case; placed like this, it prevents the ticket inspector from forgetting another task, announcing the departure of the train in a few minutes, via the console opportunely opened to hold the terminal.

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