Each video is roughly the same: an arm reaches out for a doorknob, swings a door open, and the camera moves on through. Sometimes there are slight variations. The arm might reach for a button, a keycard might be required, or another person may have opened the door first. But ultimately, they’re all about the same: roughly 10-second videos of someone opening a door and walking through it.
On the YouTube channel “I open doors,” a pseudonymous Swedish man has been posting a single video of himself opening a door nearly every day for the past year. There are now 334 videos, most with just a couple of views each. The channel lived largely in obscurity until it received some attention on Reddit earlier this week.
I found it a welcome distraction from the world’s chaos, so I decided to reach out to ask about the doors he opens.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
What makes a good door?
A good door can be anything. All doors are special in their own regards, I would say, no matter the material, if it’s glass or wooden or metal. But I think the best door is the door that has a surprise behind it. Something that surprises you the viewer.
How do you choose the doors?
Any door that’s in front of me that I feel like, “Ooh, I want to open this door,” then I’m going to open it.
Usually, I try to film different doors as much as possible. I don’t want to film the same door too many times. Especially if there’s many uploads in a row, I don’t want it to be the same door. I will film the same door from time to time, of course, but I think that can also provide some familiarity. You recognize the door. You maybe feel at home with the door.
How did you decide on opening doors?
“I want anyone to feel like they can open a door.”
I want to see if I can unify people and create a community behind something that is so simple and trivial as just opening doors. Basically a social experiment, I would say.
I thought about it for a while, and the more I thought about it, opening doors felt like a good idea. It’s easy, accessible. There are doors everywhere. And you can do a lot of stuff with it. So you can show something behind the door, or you can have other people, YouTubers or whatever, be behind the door. I think there’s plenty of opportunity. Hopefully, there’s a lot of doors open for me, so to speak.
You don’t reveal your name and only show your left arm on camera. Why do you want to stay anonymous?
I want anyone to feel like they can open a door and everyone to be part of this experience. It’s not about me really; it’s about the viewers. All of my videos are from the point-of-view perspective, so basically it’s you opening the door.
By showing too much information about myself — for instance, my name or my age — that gives it too much focus on me. I feel like keeping it a secret and having that mystery makes people more interesting in watching the videos and maybe trying to find clues or making up their own story. So by not saying so much, I actually say a lot more.
What’s been your favorite door so far?
My favorite doors are the ones with the surprises behind them. Where there’s someone. I’ve had two collabs so far with famous people, and those were really fun to make because then I could share my enthusiasm for the project with them.
At the moment, I would say my airplane toilet door video is my favorite because that one has 5,000 views, which is 5,000 more than I [expected]. It’s crazy. I don’t know why that one blew up. I think maybe people have a weird toilet ASMR fetish or something, but I’ll take it.
How do you keep things interesting?
I gotta be honest, a lot of the videos I make are pretty basic and maybe not so interesting at all. Even with the doors that aren’t interesting, I’m hoping that it will feel like a safe anchor for people. If you had a bad or a good day, I will be there opening a door for you because I upload every day, and I will continue to do so no matter what happened in your life. Hopefully, even though that might not be interesting, it will feel like a safe spot, and in that way, it will be interesting, if you know what I’m trying to say.
Why do this at all, though? Why put it on the internet?
I’ve seen similar projects, and I’m so fascinated when a lot of people follow something that seems stupid. But that’s what I love about the internet. People love stupid stuff, and I want to be a part of that. I’ve had a lot of smiles and laughter from stupid videos. If I can provide that to someone else, that would be great. Whenever a video gets a view, that’s one more view than I thought it would get, and I’m just so happy for that.