I don’t remember breathing as I saw my lens lid being sucked into the abyss. Was there even oxygen up there? Perhaps this was the new Mile High Club, overlooking the biosphere and travelling on a different time. I calculated that the elevator was taking me up at probably 40miles/hour, about the speed of a Boeing 777. After recounting urban legends of stolen metal lift components, I stupidly decided that the worst of my vertigo was over as I barged nosily opened the fire door against a howling wind. The suffocating pressure difference pumped adrenaline to my hands as I clung onto the door frame against the pull…

Wedging my left shoe against the automatically locking door, I limped towards the edge in my sock. Normally a scaredy cat, my calves locked into spasm as I shakily snapped away after accepting my lonely encounter with the wind speeds. It was disturbingly comforting to know that my shoe was safer than me, trapped against the heavy door and the door frame. Would anyone have heard my call for help if I was trapped on a 32nd floor fire escape balcony?

“The outcome of the city will depend on the race between the automobile and the elevator, and anyone who bets on the elevator is crazy.” -Frank Lloyd Wright

The Kinkey Tower was not complete. I looked up to see that workers above me coped with my trivial breathless sensations on a daily basis. My gasps and awes were as  At the end of 2011, the Kinkey Tower was mind-bogglingly tall. I’m aware now that my fears shall soon become laughably old-fashioned as we race for greater speeds toward spatial extremities. Our newest expansion in the 3rd-dimension were conquests against the challenges of perception.

It was too abstract to describe the Kinkey Tower as the “8th highest in the world”. I could only relate to its height from the perspective of a minuscule spectator  by the sheer length of time it took to eye it from bottom to top. Then again, only tourists look up. The Mile High Club will probably one day become accustom to filtering out the vertical landscape and cease the instinct to gaze down in the same fashion as the local pedestrians that were already tired of looking up.

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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