Provocation 10: 

Carol A. Taylor
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Provocation 10: Coming to the door. Or, doors and what they do.

- What is a door?
- What is it for?
- What work does a door do?
- Which doors have come to matter to you? How? And why?
- What are your door stories?

Door: Barrier; gateway; entrance; portal; guardian; access; obstacle; boundary; border

Look around you. If you are inside a room somewhere, you will no doubt have multiple doors to pass through before you get outside. If you are outside, there will be doors you need to navigate to get inside.

Doors are thresholds
Doors are liminal spaces
Doors enfold inside/outside
Doors are physical-material
Doors are affective-symbolic
Doors are tactile
Doors engage somatechnic bodily manoeverings
Doors hold and fasten and fix
Doors open
Doors close
Doors are portals
Not all bodies can pass through all doors

Some images of doors:

I wrote something recently about doors. Have a listen:

Or, alternatively, read it here:

I notice that the majority of bodies at postqualitative presentations, workshops, events, happenings, gatherings, and conferences are still largely White, privileged, and in abundant possession of dominant modes of cultural capital. Whose bodies are not here and why? I raised this point in a talk I gave to an all-White gathering and the air sagged and the good mood wavered as discomfort swirled and denial was voiced. But, I think, if postqualitative endeavors are to be worth anything, and if flipping methodology in postqualitative mode is an ethico-onto-epistemological political project in relation to opening theory-practice spaces in which differential matterings actually matter, then we need postqualitative to be a dwelling which is capacious, airy, heart-ful, and has no doors. I say “no doors” because, as Derrida (2000) notes, “if there is a door, there is no longer hospitality . . . as soon as there are a door and windows, it means that someone has the key to them and consequently controls the conditions of hospitality” (p. 14). Derrida goes on to draw a distinction between “the hospitality of invitation” and “the hospitality of visitation.” In visitation, he says, “there is no door. Anyone can come at any time and can come in without needing a key for the door. There are no customs checks with a visitation. But there are customs and police checks with an invitation” (Derrida, 2000, p. 14). What would it mean—what would it do—to pursue thinking-with the possibility of postqualitative work as visitation? The visitor may be the uninvited, the stranger, the one who, or that which, brings what is difficult, unforeseen, unknown, and unanticipateable—a something to reckon with. To paraphrase Derrida, if I was only prepared to welcome those invited ones, the ones I am ready and prepared for, who come at the allotted hour, and who look like others I already know, where then is hospitality?

Taylor, C. A. (2020). Flipping methodology: Or, errancy in the meanwhile and the need to remove doors. Qualitative Inquiry. 27 (2) 235–238.

Here is something about me:

I am Professor of Higher Education and Gender in the Department of Education at the University of Bath where I am Head of Research and lead the Learning, Pedagogy and Diversity Research cluster. My research focuses on the entangled relations of knowledge, power, gender, space and ethics in higher education and utilizes trans- and interdisciplinary feminist materialist and posthumanist theories and methodologies. I am co-editor of the journal Gender and Education. I serve on the Editorial Boards of Teaching in Higher Education, Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning and Journal of Posthumanism. My latest books are Taylor, C. A., Ulmer, J., and Hughes, C. (Eds.) (2020) Transdisciplinary Feminist Research: Innovations in Theory, Method and Practice. London: Routledge; Taylor, C. A. and Bayley, A. (Eds.) (2019) Posthumanism and Higher Education: Reimagining Pedagogy, Practice and Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan, and Taylor, C. A., Abbas, A. and Amade-Escot, C. (Eds.) (2019) Gender in Learning and Teaching: Feminist Dialogues across International Boundaries. London: Routledge.


Nikki Fairchild:

When is a door not a door? When it is ajar…

This was one of the riddles we used to tell each other as children, the play on words was interesting, we would always sigh when the punchline was given. The Etymology of the word ‘ajar’ is quite revealing:

ajar (adv.)

“slightly open, neither open nor shut,” 1718, also on a jar, on the jar, perhaps from Scottish dialectal a char “turned a little way,” earlier on char (mid-15c.) “on the turn (of a door or gate),” from Middle English char “a turn,” from Old English cier “a turn”.

Ajar describes a range of doors – neither open nor shut, maybe open more for some than others. We can make a turn, follow a turn, lead a turn, someone can be on the turn or partially turned. In academia and life there are always doors to go through and gatekeepers to these doors. Blocked doors can jar us…they are affective and the resultant feelings can cause bodily hurts. Carol unpicks the challenge of doors in her provocation and urges ‘if postqualitative endeavors are to be worth anything, and if flipping methodology in postqualitative mode is an ethico-onto-epistemological political project in relation to opening theory-practice spaces in which differential matterings actually matter, then we need postqualitative to be a dwelling which is capacious, airy, heart-ful, and has no doors.’

I see ajar-ness as both a movement and moment of becoming, a zone of indiscernibility that exists between bodily interconnections. Deleuze and Guattari (1987) conceptualize this by considering the moment of pollination between the orchid and the wasp where becoming acts as an encounter, a point of transformation, a ‘difference-in-itself’ which is affirmative and productive. These thresholds of becoming ajar are self-sustaining and engender wider connectivity producing becomings elsewhere.

As a response to Carol’s provocation:

Doors can be ajar




On the turn


Slightly open





Perhaps we need to be more ajar…

Ajar matters


Rawan N.

I find myself very interested into different kinds, shapes, colors, size and materials of doors. In my previous travels I have always taken photographs of different front doors. Doors are structural elements in our built environment, they represent either boundaries and limitations, or openings to other places. It is also a tool of control that allows things to enter or exit a particular space. There are fixed doors, there are moving doors, floating doors, and flying doors.
To think about this, doors are literally everywhere!
Doors can tell a lot about our personalities and can hold many potential stories. Some might like glass doors, wooden doors, steel doors, or even plastic doors and I think there must be an explanation to these various preferences. Then I think a little deeper about doors, what are they figuratively? What do they represent? Doors can be beginnings; they can be gates to different opportunities and exposures. The powerful meaning of doors depends on the state of someone’s mind. If you are positive person, you will find yourself thinking about them positively. For that you will visualize them as new chapters, a new milestone. In contrary, if you are a negative thinker, you will see doors as barriers and worst, if you always see them “locked”. Thinking about personal stories, one particular door come to my mind which is the wooden door at my parents’ house. One morning I was trapped in the dining room because the door refused to open. After many tries of screaming and knocking on the door, my brother who was in another city and has just arrived heard me and helped me get out from another door in the room that was blocked with a huge closet. The funny thing is that as soon as I got out, the door that refused to work simply opened! Another story about the same kind of door is my parent’s restroom door. I was again trapped inside, and it just would not open. My family had to call civil defense to get me out of there! I hated that restroom and all similar doors at my parents’ house.

  The wooden doors at my parents’ house

Charlton L.

What is a door?


What is it for?

Division between superiors and inferiors

What work does a door do?

Enables different classes to tolerate same space

Which doors have come to matter to you? How? And why?

The exit doors matter to me because it is an exit to separation. The separation limits existences

What are your door stories?

3 Doors Down

Door 1- Duck and Run

Door 2- Changes

Door 3- Kryptonite

My story is about my 3 doors that are down or not working as it was designed to do. The lyrics of each song gives reasons on how I view my 3 doors down.

Timothy H.

Coming to the door. Or, doors and what they do

Doors have always been there. To be honest I have never really considered them as more than one of two things. One, a means for barrier to entry or exit. Two, an accent to a house for the outside world to admire. It wasn’t until reading Carol A. Taylor’s provocation that I began to really understand what a door means. It is a barrier to experiences. Granted access by “invitation” as Taylor puts it.

Thinking of a door as a barrier to experiences kindled the notion of a door preventing a better life. Over the course of my life, I have had the preconceived idea that just knocking on a door would grant you access, if you carry the right attitude when it opens. As easy as it sounds, what if the door were to open to someone else besides myself. What if it didn’t open at all. Based solely on reasons of prejudice.

Being a white male in the 21st century, I have been given an enormous responsibility. To open the door – and eyes – of everyone like me and let those not like me inside. Not just open a door but rip the damn thing off the hinges. A door is a constant reminder of separation and divide that needs to be removed from society. Allowing more to see the cultural myths and know prejudice is our problem.

For years, I had believed that I had done everything to prevent the spread of prejudice by not taking part in it. In doing so, I have closed the doors on many I have never met. This new light on what a door represents depressed me. I’m irritated to think of the missed opportunities to open a door and welcome in objection to the mindset passed down from family ideology.

What is a door

- A barrier to the outside world

What is it for?

- To remove myself from the outside world             

What work does a door do?

- Allows me to be comfortable in a world full of discomfort

Which doors have come to matter to you? How? Why?

- The doors I have control over. Taylor’s provocation showed me the true thoughtless meaning of a door. I now see doors as a pathway to detach from the world and hide in my own comfort.

What are your door stories?

- I have always taken pride in making sure I open the door for whoever is coming in behind me or out in front of me. A small gesture to show the others that I respect them. To me, holding a door open for a stranger helps to position them above me and shows them I am no better. While I do not have specific stories about doors, I do know I have always granted an easier means of overcoming the obstacle of a door. All doors are important to me. As they give me a way to open a world of opportunity to any who may not be given it. If I were to tell a story it would be the one concerning an individual I never met, spoke with – outside of their “thank you” and my “you’re welcome”, or made a connection to but still improved their day by being shown the small respect I could by opening a door.

Bruce Razura Vega

1. What is a door?

A Door is something that has the potential to open an entire new space of your life.

2. What is it for?

A door is there to help you navigate through life and are there as an option for choices to be made on whether you take them is entirely up to you.

3. What work does a door do in including/excluding?

A door works in connecting to different paths in life that you may or may not go to. It does not guarantee happiness or sadness, rather a path through life. It does not guarantee a path to go through, there could be a dead end. It works to bringing you in and out where

4. Which doors matter to you? How? And why?

The door to my room matters to me the most. It is a door which encapsulates life in my room to life outside and being able to go out and explore the world. In my room I have made it a comfortable living space and outside there is a whole world that I have yet to explore and experience life. Another door that matters to me is the door to my car. It is a door that lets me go out and travel to explore the world. It is a safe place for me to also be with people I enjoy being with in a compact place and explore with them as well. There is so much opportunity whenever I open that door.

5. What are the material moments on your journeying to/through doors that have come to matter to you?

An important moment was walking through the door of an airplane because it takes me to a whole different culture across the world. The privilege to travel to places such as England, France, Mexico, and El Salvador as well as across the U.S. is amazing and just going through those doors are something I will never forget. Another moment I will never forget was going through the door of the Arizona Federal Theatre because I was able to see one of my favorite bands, Bring Me The Horizon, I was able to experience a concert where I was able to connect with such a large amount of people and enjoy ourselves. I was even crazy enough to crowd surf to the front and high five the singer of the band. The music, the people, the experience, those are things I will not forget.

Maleah R.

A door is chance for rebirth

A door for old ways to be turned into new

A door holds beginnings

A door withholds promises

A door matters to the brave

Without a door there is no more

Places to be reborn

A door is the core

For all that adore

The main purpose

Of A Door

Cheyenne H.

Doors are a means of keeping people in or keeping people out however they are also thresholds that people can travel through. Doors have always provoked anxiety within me. I'm quite a shut-in or recluse. I've dealt with anxiety disorders my whole life or more specifically I have quite severe OCD. Often times stepping outside front door is one of the hardest things that I have to do. It takes a startling amount of energy and effort for me to build myself up enough to take that first step through that threshold of a door. I need time to put on my armor and think things through, I need to think about everything that could potentially happen and how I would react even though it's unlikely anything that my mind can conjure up would actually happen. Closed doors within a room make me feel safe. They act as a shield for me. It protects me from things that I can't control, from things that may hurt me, it provides me with a safe space where I can decompress. Nobody will see me behind that door and therefore I can let go, I can breathe when I step outside and cross that threshold, I have to be alert. I can't relax when I'm outside, I'm constantly looking over my shoulder feeling like something is going to happen, there's always a sense of tension in me when I have to leave what is my safe space or my comfort zone. I'm almost high-strung when I go out, just as if I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop or for something horrible to happen. I get the most comfort from my bedroom door or more specifically my bedroom door when it's closed and locked. Even if I'm alone in my house I always lock my bedroom door. The spaces outside my bedroom, the hallway, the living room, it's still so open and often that openness bothers me. I like enclosed spaces and my room provides me with that comfort of being enclosed in a space. I appreciate my plain white door that stands resolutely between me and whatever is on the other side. It's my protector, it's my shield, it makes me feel secure and I will forever be grateful for the grounding security a closed-door provides.

Mylynn T.

A door is like a start and an end. You can begin your journey once you open a door to go in or out, but you can end it once you leave the place and close the door. A door can be a metaphorical symbol of a change in life or become a sort of protective shield inside your mind. To me, doors are my shield, but also an obstacle to reaching my next place. They can either hold me back by locking me in or out of a room. Over the years, I struggled with my mental health to the point that I pushed all feelings aside. I put all of them behind a door that would be locked up and pushed into the back of my mind. I would also do this to memories that would torture me and haunt me day and night. For a long time, I thought I could just ignore those things behind the doors, but some materials for doors aren’t strong. I would continuously look for new doors to lock my feelings and memories in. I knew it won’t be a permanent solution as the doors would always break down. Eventually, I started therapy, which was good and bad. I knew I need to talk out my feelings and the things are constantly bother me, but that would also mean I had to open up those doors. In my mind, I have different rooms for several things from secrets to feelings to memories. I have a catalog of doors for things in my life that I like to keep separate.

There are a lot of idioms about doors that have metaphorical meanings. One common idiom would be as one door close, another one opens, which conveys that some events in our lives or relationships will end, but there will always be new opportunities with open doors. It is similar to what I mentioned before where doors are a beginning and an end. As you go through life, you will open doors that could lead you to a better place or better opportunities. Once the time has come to move on, you can close the door to that chapter in your life and walk on to the next door.

Jaida J.

The door that matters the most to me is the one that separates my room from the rest of the house. I find comfort being alone with my possessions, away from the happenings on the other side. When the door is shut, I feel like I don’t have a worry in the world. I lose track of time doing the things I love within. When the door is opened, I feel exposed again to my problems and responsibilities. The weight returns to my shoulders and all I could think about is how much I want to go back. A door doesn’t stop the world from turning. Eventually, I’ll have to leave and face the other side head on.

Sophie E.

The door poem

To be a door

A hard life

A stagnant life

One might even call it a dormant life

A beginning and an end

A door sees it all

Much hinges on its success


Left alone to its thoughts

They have the lock but not the key

A door is quiet

One might call it shy

Or maybe just nervous

I think its a-door-able


What is a door for?

A path for a new beginning.

What work does a door do?

Doors open paths

Which doors have come to matter to you? How? And why?

The door to education has become something important to me because of the other doors it can open, the importance of education has always been expressed to me and is something I believe in.

What are your door stories?

Growing up my grandfather always taught me and my cousins how to repair things in a house, things like leaks, clogged toilets and patching holes in walls were things we were taught. One day during summer break I was at my grandfather’s house he needed to replace the frame and lock for the backyard door. I remember the day vividly from how the sky looked to the placement of the birds in the sky. My grandfather woke me up at 5:00 AM after staying up all night watch cartoons as the common couch potato fifth grader I was. He told me he needed help and he can only pay me in experience. For the next couple of hours, me and my grandfather put in a door frame and changed locks for a door, in our time of working me and my grandfather talked about many things it was the summer I was entering middle school he shared stories with me from his adolescent years. This is one of my favorite memories in life it means so much to me because it felt like my grandfather went from only being a father figure to opening a door to being a friend and someone, I can talk to about anything.

Maurice T.

Doors are markers,


Doors are where you are,

where you are going,

where you have been

Doors are hesitancies

Doors offer control

Doors are insecurities

Doors provide security

They can be physical

They can be non physical



Doors are portals

Things are continuously connected and disconnected by doors

The importance of doors and how they have come to matter to me takes the form of an extensively intertwined triad of the spiritual, physical and non-physical world. My journey through my faith and life has largely been visualized through a collection of doors set before me and my decision to or not to enter them. They represent the on-going influence of the spiritual world in my life and my unbounding faith in that connection. Physical doors provide a buffer between myself and that which I do or do not wish to interact with. Access to different parts of the world that must be allowed to pass through.. The choice to walk through or allow someone to walk through a door are one in the same. Non-physical doors are my emotional obstacles. I’ve spent a large chunk of my lifetime struggling with identity, race, depression, and belonging. These doors lead to my everyday life, They are ones laid out across the path I take everyday no matter what. They remain unseen by anyone but me, they are invisible but always there.


A door is a guardian. Defending one environment from another. It protects the threshold between worlds. Indoor from outdoor, executive from subordinate, safety of the home from the unbridled chaos of the outside world. It protects, it excludes, and it welcomes.

The doors that have come to mean the most are the ones I pass through most frequently. Entering through my apartment door at the end of a long day is a release of my daily stressors.

Coming to the entrance of my childhood home, where my parents live, after months of separation. That’s nostalgia, love, and realization of time gone by… The fact that I am no longer the child who would run through those doors every day after school.

The door of an audition room, the only thing separating me and a casting director who may see the potential in me to cast me in a film. To change my life.

The door of my ex-girlfriend’s house: the same threshold that I watched with exhilarating anticipation was also where I saw her last, with her back turned, and then it shut for good.

Doors are beginnings and endings. Some are always open, some you can only enter with an invitation, and some stay shut indefinitely. Doors are selective.

Madison G.

A barrier

That’s what it is

It is keeping me out

And keeping the world on the other side from me

You want to open it though

I do

So then open it

It’s not that simple

It’s not locked

I know

And you’re already in front of it

I know

So, open it

I’m not ready

Not ready to belong to world on the other side

To deal with what comes with opening the door

Why don’t I open this one

Sorry that one is locked and someone else has the key

I could try kicking it down

That will bring consequences

Are you sure you want to deal with those


Maybe not

All these doors and you can’t pick one to open

All these doors are different

All these doors block me from something

All these doors keep me from something

All these doors are not easy to open

So, what will you do

Try to open one of them


Then try another one

I like that plan

Doors are barriers in life. They separate us from whatever is on the other side, both literally and figuratively. When I thought about the doors I have encountered in my life the one that stuck out the most was the one that was keeping me from being true to myself. Coming out as bisexual was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I didn’t know how people were going to respond, how people would start treating me, or if people were still going to love me. Yes, this door kept me from the pain and struggle that came with coming out, but it was also keeping me from embracing who I truly was. Everyone has doors in their lives. Opening them is never easy, but we can’t let a door stop us from living in a world we deserve to live in.

Crystal C.
What is a door?

If not a pathway to something more?

It’s smaller than a window,

But they function just the same.

The air flows in,

Opportunity flows throughout.

One may fear what is behind,

While their dreams lay all about.

A door is a barrier and an introduction.

Who is knocking?

A door is a tool and a metaphor.

Who is knocking?

A door is both foreign and common.

Who is knocking?

A door is a sign, a signal,

For the welcome and the unwelcomed.

As I said,

Who is knocking?


The significance of “Who is Knocking?” is to represent the multiple meanings of a door. What lies behind a door, can be both good and evil. What (or who) attempts to go through a door, can also be both good and evil. Doors represent protection and privacy, but also new beginnings… and not all new beginnings are virtuous beginnings.

Annalisa D.

What is a door?

A door is an entrance or exit,

A barrier or division between spaces

A bounty or border,

A shield,

An obstacle,

A portal,

a decision or

a start or end to a path or a journey

What is it for?

A door divides spaces,

Allows for privacy,

It protects from intruders

It’s for opening,

It’s for closing,

It’s for hiding,

And it's for curiosity.

It includes those within that space

And can serve as an invitation

It excludes others blocking them out

And can be a obstacle in the way

The doors that matter to me are...

the ones that serve as an invitation or decision.

The ones that start me on a new journey

or change the direction of the existing one I am on.

The ones that serve as an obstacle for me to tackle.

The material moments that matter to me as I pass through these doors are

The ones that connected me to the important people in my life now,

The inclusion it has brought me as well as

The obstacles that allow me to grow and move forward.


Speaking with my therapist, I described the mental exhaustion I felt as being stuck in a seemingly never-ending hallway of back-to-back doors. I open one, to find another after 5 by 4 feet of unencumbered space. These doors are never quite the same. Some are simple enough to open and walk through to the next. Some are locked, maybe just the knob, maybe the deadbolt too. Some have latches and chains and padlocks. None of these things are terribly difficult to open; turning, sliding, pulling, pushing, trying one key after another to see which fits.

The volume is what begins to pain me. Hands raw from each and every little action. The monotony of opening one door to find another. The frustration if the next door is more complicated than the last. Eventually I just sat down; not at a particularly challenging door, just the door I got tired at. All these obstacles and going through them one at a time wore me down. All in the hope that I’d come out the other side a better, stronger person.

I feel so worn that I no longer wish to do this for myself. I think of anyone who would appreciate the effort, anyone who might be proud, it’s never enough. I know I’ll stand again and unlatch more and unlock my way to another door, but I just want to rest for the time being.

J. Allen

Doors are gateways to the past, present and future. They can hold some of the best memories of your life, open you up to a once in a lifetime opportunity, change your life. They can hide the deepest parts of ourselves, the things we wish we could have done differently.

I slammed a door in my father’s face once in a fury of teenage angst. He proceeded to remove the door off its hinges for a year, he told me “doors are a privilege.” Take that how you will. Do not judge him too harshly. My father was not an angry man, but I was an angry teenager, prone to depressive fits of rage, and would routinely lock myself in my room for days reading or listening to punk music.

Books are doors of sorts, they open our minds to other worlds and realities much more appealing than ours. I’m very aware that my obsession with fantasy novels has nothing to do with the art, but a form of escapism. My reality is marred with stressors, endless work, and obligations, but for a few blissful pages I can open the door to Hogwarts or Prynthian or Victorian England.

All forms of escapism could be argued as doors. Have you ever listened to music with headphones on for so long that once you take them off, the silence suffocates you? It physically throbs to hear nothing at all.

One of the doors forever etched into my memory was a crappy thin front door of an apartment in Florida. My best friend lived there, it was the last time I saw him or spoke to him in person. I held my tongue, closed his front door, and flew to Texas without looking back. If only I had lingered, if I had the courage to say what was on my mind, we would still be friends.

Just because one door is sealed shut doesn;t mean another won’t open. Sometimes I find that the doors we wish to open the most, are the ones we aren’t meant to open.

The universe opens other opportunities for us. Things with my best friend didn’t work out, but that also opened the door to a year of self discovery and healing. I ignored so many things in that friendship, but once that was no longer an option to escape to, I opened the door to therapy, to taking myself on dates, focusing on my wants and needs.

Doors are not always physical, they are metaphorical and spiritual. I may regret not speaking my mind all those months ago, but I opened myself to personal growth and growing in an environment that wasn’t codependent. I will always be grateful for the struggle of this past year, it’s helped me learn about myself more than any friendship or relationship has.

Lori M.


I have a difficult relationship with doors, I fear them in a way. Just because I have seen the secrets that have been hidden on the other side. A door being the gateway to freedom but it is also like a jail cell door trying to imprison me. I have a difficult relationship with doors because I fear the dark, and when the door is closed it does not let any light in. My parent’s door matters because I fear being stuck in there. My story is not a bright one, it is a dark one, full of deceit and yelling. I do not have a healthy relationship with doors.

Maria R.

A door as mundane it be

It is pretty

It is grisly

It is whatever you want it to be

Look to the left

Peer to the right

There’s a light that shines bright

There’s an entrance that leads to a fright

A lock and key are not the only thing that will pull you to a stop.

Beyond the basic function of a door. There is a meaning much deeper. A door can do more than just let you in and out of a space. It is a barrier between two worlds. There is that what is outside the door and another on the inside. Depending on the environment a door holds more to it than just being an entrance and exit. When entering through the door of someone’s house you are met with a side of them that you may have not known before, that they are dirty or clean. When entering a haunted house, you come to terms with whether it is frightening. When going through a gate of a garden you can see the beauty of the flowers or perhaps even the death of many. When going outside you see that the inside was a haven away from the war that went on away from you.

Skylar H.

Doors are a strange kind of foe. When open, they are harmless. You can come and go as you please, the door will do nothing to stop you. Indeed, an open door may as well not exist, or be invisible. When closed however, the door is an enemy to be fought with. But it has a strange way of fighting. It doesn’t so much actively fight the people that come against it, so much as it passively impedes motion through it by means of its weight. And once this weight is overcome, if it is overcome, the door is open, and in being so, vanishes.

This vanishing act of the door presents quite the frustration when it comes to deconstructing the role that doors play as barriers between people within society. To the people to whom the door has always stood open, the door doesn’t exist, and those people are free to exist with no idea that, for others, there is a barrier where they themselves have free access. The door is effectively capable of being perceived in two states at once. Invisible to those on one side of it, and opaque to those on the other. The solution then, it seems, is to find a way to effectively communicate through the door.

Q: “What is a door?”

A: A means of selectively dividing space.

Q: “What is it for?”

A: It allows a controlling party to exclude other parties from entering a controlled space. Or, alternatively, to prevent parties already on the inside from getting out.

Q: “What work does a door do?”

A: By itself, nothing. The door is an inert object, not capable of independent motion. A door is a tool that requires an operator.

Q: “Which doors have come to matter to you? How? Why?”

A: There are a few doors that come to my mind in thinking about this question. Firstly, there is the door of education. I feel like the how and why of this door’s importance is commonly appreciated by most people, and thus find it hard to feel like I can really bring any originality to the subject. Suffice to say, that if it were not possible to feel like access to knowledge was a given thing, then I would be a far more hopeless person.

The other door that comes to mind is a door that separates myself from “normalcy”. I have always felt myself to be on the wrong side of this door, and I feel that in some way, to some degree, I will always feel that way. And I think this is primarily so as a result of conditioning.

Q: “What are the material moments on your journeying to and through doors that have come to matter to you?”

A: Interestingly enough, the two doors I mentioned in response to the last question share a common material moment. And it is odd to think that the same material should have such contrary effects on those doors. I can’t help but draw an analogy to keys. The same key that opens one door, does nothing to open another.

Miriam B.

In simplest terms a door is a barrier. Importance can be added to such door depending on whether the door is open or closed. What also indicates importance is the perspective from which you view it. Are you inside or outside? Some could argue that if you are inside, the door is a protective item separating you from the dangers of the outside world. However, if you’re outside trying to get in, it is an obstacle in the path to safety. The job of said door is to separate the elite few who hold the key to unlock it from the people who do not own the key.

Every monsoon season, my bathroom door gets harder to close and open due to the excess humidity. Sometimes doors aren’t locked, they just require additional effort to be pushed or pulled. The concept can be applied to life. The things worth doing require more effort. Getting an education is one of those. For some the door is locked due to unfair locks, for others the door is wide open, and for some, such as myself, the door requires a little extra effort. The funny thing about this is that here is where my dad’s voice plays in my head. It reminds me of the instance when I was getting ready to graduate high school and busy applying for scholarships. I found the process tedious and one day I was so frustrated I almost gave up, he said “If you don’t try to open the door it will always be closed. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no.” I remember this advice whenever I have an opportunity to ask for a chance for a better life. This voice in my head is part of the reason why I decided to return to school after an extended period away.

Jason C.

A door is the gateway between two things, whether it is a tangible doorway between two rooms or a metaphorical doorway between two concepts. Doors act as part of a wall, being the notable part of walls where two things coincide and interact. In a way, they help act as a threshold guardians between two things, allowing only interactions between these two things through them. However, I think what separates a door from an entrance is that doors can be closed, locked, and sealed, barring communion between the two things on the opposite sides of a door from coinciding. An entrance does not need something capable of closing it, and is therefore more broad of a concept compared to a door. Entrances can sometimes be incapable of being blocked, but doors must be able to shut, or else it is a fundamentally broken door.

I think some of the most important doors I have come to appreciate in life are the ones we put up to separate ourselves from other people. After all, it is customary to knock before entering and it is always polite within western cultures to wait for a response after knocking on a door. I think that in a way, social greetings are like doors. It is rude to simply not wish a good morning to someone in the morning when you happen upon them, and it is being able to identify if that person wants to talk by greeting them that social greetings are a sort of metaphorical door. If someone doesn’t reply back, much like how one might not hear a polite, soft knock on the door, they might simply not have heard you. Otherwise, maybe they are not in the mood to talk at the moment? In that way, being ignored is like a door being shut. Interaction between yourself and the other is closed by an implicit acknowledgement of not wanting to respond to a friendly greeting.

I do not have any particularly impressive door stories to tell, but I do recall the massive, steel doors on the ship I used to serve in when I was still in the US Navy. On the US Wasp, there is a hallway connecting the galley where Sailors eat and the fore half of the ship from the hangar bay and the aft half. This hallway has work centers on its left and to the right, floors of black non-skid that often get trash accidentally dumped onto them from Sailors working in the galley accidentally spilling garbage all over the floor while carrying wet paper bags filled beyond maximum capacity with food waste, and the thick, massive steel doors on both ends of the hallway. My work center was on the wall in the center of that hallway, and it is a very common thoroughfare for Sailors transiting across the ship, going about their workday. The purpose of these doors was to provide watertight containment in case of flooding from the fore end of the ship to prevent seawater from rushing into the hangar bay immediately in the event of a catastrophic flood, so often whenever both doors are shut, a vacuum would form in the hallway making them much harder to open, requiring one to put in the extra elbow grease and push to break said vacuum. I think what made these doors stick out to me the most from my time on-board US Wasp is that I would always pass by them but never really give much thought into just how intricately designed they are and how much thought was put into them. These hulking doors with faded orange gaskets around them to ensure an air tight seal when shut, being the threshold guardian between me and the light of the outside world, I cannot help but express profound respect for them. Sure, there are the larger, heavier, mechanically-opened elevator doors of the hangar bay to allow helicopters and aircraft to transit from it to the flight deck, but my home for the past couple of years was that hallway, guarded by hulking metal doors in a hallway where everyone passed through.

Charlize F.

What is a door? The boundary that lies between worlds. What is it for? To conceal. To separate. To be opened. The right key can open a door. Behind the door is the unknown, a new world, or maybe an old one onceconcealed. Behind the door are people you’ll meet, experiences you’ll have, lives you’ll see, if you can learn to open the door. Doors that have come to matter to me are more so metaphorical rather than physical. The door that stands between me and my ancestors’ history is one of them. It feels closed to me, but I hope to one day open it and connect with my culture more. There’s also the door to new opportunities that I am afraid to open. I trap myself in my room, because I cannot see what’s on the other side, but I can’t stay here forever. When making friends, I have trouble letting myself open my door up, but it can be rewarding once you pass that threshold and allow yourself to connect and see what’s on the other side. At the same time, a closed door can bring comfort as it offers a moment of reprieve and privacy. Once, my friend locked the bathroom door behind us and stayed with me while I cried. It was almost like she was the actual door at that moment, shielding me from the public so that I could process my emotions in private. Sometimes you need to hide things behind a door, but they shouldn't stay locked forever, or else they wouldn’t be much of a door.


A door that has come to matter to me would be the front door of the apartment I share with my wife. Every day when I come home from work, I see that door and think, this is where my family is. I see happiness, even though that door is plain beige and dull overall.

A story that comes to mind when thinking about doors is when I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. For a few months, I have been losing weight and going to the bathroom frequently. I went from one hundred eighty pounds to a little over one hundred twenty pounds, and every morning, I would wake up to extreme charlie horses in my legs. My father finally forced me to go to the hospital after I had become white as a ghost and vomiting. When we arrived at the hospital, I remember thinking that everything was about to change as I looked at the revolving doors. I was exceedingly correct. Now I have to inject myself with insulin whenever I want to eat or drink. Now every time I inject insulin into my stomach, I see those doors of the hospital and think, if only I could go back through the opposite way and leave this disease at the hospital.

Kayleigh B.

The door that has come to matter to me is the door to my mother’s house. When I was younger, I would dread coming home. I was an angsty teen that wanted nothing to do with my mother who clearly didn’t understand what it was like to be a teenager. The front door was a symbol of what little control I had. Now that I have been moved out of that house for a few years, that same door is comforting. It’s warm, it’ inviting. Walking up the front steps, it feels like I’m meeting an old friend. The front door of my mom’s house has given me a deeper understanding of how perceptions can change over time. The second door that has come to matter to me, is the door that stands between many young people, and higher education. I am lucky enough to work for a company that completely pays for my tuition. That being said, my salary isn’t exactly “livable.” Due to being a full time student, the government taxes the majority of my tuition payments as income, which means I miss about four paychecks per year, to taxes. If it weren’t for tuition assistance, I wouldn’t be able to afford to g to college at all. With tuition benefits, there are three months out of the year that I struggle to pay my rent. For those who don’t have parents who are able to pay for their education, higher education is nearly impossible. Yet without higher education, financial freedom seems like an unrealistic dream.

The third door that has come to matter to me is the door to my Nana's house. Ever since I was a little girl, when I came running into my Nana’s house, she would yell from the kitchen, “I hear the pitter patter of little feet!” I’m in my twenties now and she still says it. I don’t think it will ever get old.

Manana S.

A door is something that keeps me safe, it keeps me secluded and when it is locked, I am safe.
An open door can mean opportunity, but with that is also the fear of the unknown outside the door.
A front door can be that of relaxation. Knowing you are close to the safety and comfort of your home. But on a first date, the front door can also be that of anxiety, worrying about the new experiences to come.
A back door can mean adventure, leaving home for a few hours to play outside.
A cell door is that of imprisonment, the physical trapping of someone.
A closet door is that of creativity and choice, a symbol of self-expression.
A fridge door represents a wealth of food and abundance. Knowing your bare needs are met.
A Hidden door can mean concealment, guarding something precious.
A bunker door is a symbol of shelter, an impending doom is looming.
All doors mean something. I had many front doors, I loved escaping out the back doors, I always locked my bedroom door, my fridge door is always full, and thankfully I have never seen a cell door or needed a bunker door. I do dream of a library hidden behind a bookshelf door, however.

Julianne H.

As a child growing up I would measure my height on the inside of the door frame, like I assume many others did as well. Well, on my 11th birthday after having my height marked, I decided the inside of the door was much too boring, and took a pen to the door frame, adding little doodles in between the marks of my height. I got in a lot of trouble for doing this, but the drawings were never covered up. I became used to seeing them everyday, until last year. My parents decided to move out of my childhood home, and with that came renovations. I came back from college to visit and I saw my drawings and heights had been painted over. I saw pieces of my past erased, as if I had never been there at all.

Alaya W.

What is a door? Well of course, a door is something that leads you to something else, such as a room. A door lets everything in but can also shut things out. It is a blockade that prevents or allows what it wants. The metaphoric door opens onto a new opportunity. In the past, I have felt low, but opened a new door that brought new meaning to my life along with a sense that things will get better. A door also opens my world to adventure, which is why I chose this picture. This was a time in my life that instead of closing that door and backing away, I chose to go through it and created one of the happiest memories of my life. We need doors that help us grow and make decisions that will affect us for the rest of our lives.

Caitlin C.

When I was younger, doors would often be slammed in my household. Due to anger, arguments, fights. Doors were a symbol of anger, it just screamed ‘leave me alone!’ when they were shut. Growing up, I was told to keep my door open, and to never lock it. Doors would slam all the time, so loudly, that now, I have a habit of gently opening and closing doors despite the weight they would pull. But  now, they are a symbol of granting whoever is behind that closed door the privacy they desire. Now, doors are something that I expect people to knock before entering a room. Doors are something to separate, keep private, and more. Now, doors are no longer a symbol of anger, but peace, quiet, and privacy.

Ben C.

Fernanda A. M. 

A door can have a lot of meaning behind thematerial.
Personally, doors generate a feeling of anxiety inme because for me an open door means that thereis a lot behind it but we don't know it.
I feel safe when I have all the doors in my roomclosed, I feel protected.
A door serves to separate two worlds so to speakthat although they allow a connection between twospaces they do not give us the same feeling ofperception.
The doors that have come to matter to me arethose of my home because as I see a door as anelement that separates me from danger, I feel thatway when I enter my home.
When going through a door there is always apurpose behind it, a simple movement such asopening and closing a door can change themeaning of our day.

Silvia Pillow Neretti ︎ Visual Communication & Web work ︎