Balconies are transitional spaces—at once inside and outside, private and public. They are also a luxury: However pleasant they may be for lounging or useful for circulating air through apartments in hot climates, they cannot be considered essential. These semi-enclosed spaces create illusions. Balcony-dwellers are seen but not heard, among the people but separate—and even protected—from them, as monarchs and presidents know well. Balconies trick an audience gathered for royal wedding celebrations or a pope’s speech into believing, if only for a moment, that strict social hierarchies do not exist since everyone is sharing the same air. But the very nature of the balcony’s design—that it cannot be put on the ground floor—reinforces the notion that its This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-One Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.