On the BalconyA view from the inside out.

On the BalconyA view from the inside out.

Issue 31

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Arts & Culture

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 inhabitants are meant ...

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