One Typology for a Big Word: Waiting Room of Democracy

A rendering of two sides of a room with two individuals seated facing each other and talking. Through the windows, other people are visible watching them.

Still image from "Waiting Room of Democracy" by Sergio Lopez-Pineiro/Holes of Matter

Peter Sloterdijk argued, “Democracy depends on the ability to lend a spatial dimension to things said one after the other; it therefore implies constant training in patience.” To become a citizen, one must exercise the necessary patience to listen while others speak. If previous spatial types of democratic assembly have always envisioned crowds getting together, this waiting room is a space where two individuals are randomly paired up to speak and listen to each other. In other instances when people are asked to wait, this room places two strangers while they patiently (hopefully) discuss what it takes for citizens to live with each other. As with other waiting rooms, this room is not an end in itself. Nevertheless, it is necessary to reestablish an essential quality for citizenship to continue to exist in times of instant gratification and simulation. The Waiting Room of Democracy is part of Typologies for Big Words, a series of speculative projects imagining new types of spaces as holes opening in society’s big words. 

By Sergio Lopez-Pineiro/Holes of Matter
Design Collaborator: Tammy Teng
Video Editor: Angela Sniezynski
Duration: 8 min, 14 sec

With the support of Harvard GSD
Thanks to Dan Borelli, Naisha Bradley, Esther Chong Weathers, and David Zimmerman-Stuart
More information at


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the galleries in Gund Hall have been turned ‘inside out,’ with exhibitions shown through a series of exterior projections on the building’s facade. View some images and short clips from this film’s screening below: