Eli5 what is a liminal space?


Eli5 what is a liminal space?

In: 37

it’s a boundary between two (usually more clearly defined) spaces, states or times. you’re not quite in the one place, but also not in the other.

examples seem the best way to explain it.

–“tweeners” are not exactly children, but they aren’t quite teens, yet.

–when you’re lying in bed having come out of a dream and you’re partially conscious, you’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake, either, in the sense of fully alert.

–the period between the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the Constitution in the united states was a liminal period where we weren’t really a country yet, but we weren’t dependent colonies, either.

–the routines or rituals one does to prepare for going to a house of worship can be liminal in regards to the sacred and the profane.

the key point is, liminal spaces are defined by the spaces around them. without the two different countries, canada and the u.s., there is no liminal space on the AlCan highway where you’ve left the u.s. but haven’t gone thorough canada’s immigration yet.

Generally speaking, it’s an area that is used to get between two destinations. Think, hallways, atriums, etc. Not destinations in and of themselves (nobody’s ever going to the hallway, they’re using the hallway to get somewhere), but places you need to go in order to get where you’re really going.

Liminality is “being in a state of transition”. Liminal spaces are places which are almost familiar but with something disorienting about them. Like, if you went back to your elementary school for some reason. It’s all familiar but everything is too short, or if you go to a store at midnight and you’re used to it being full of people but now it’s empty and silent, or the one Wal-Mart in town with a backwards layout.

Online, it’s almost all photography of empty places – hallways that don’t go anywhere recognizable, rooms that are familiar (because late 20th-early 21st century corporate construction all looks the same) but has nothing in the room to identify its purpose. Closed malls with no stores, or a 90s fast food restaurant with no furniture. Gas stations at night, with no visible background but the island of lit up asphalt. That kind of thing.

there is no 1 explanation

to me, liminal space is a space that looks like a place that’s trying to replicate a human environment, like an office or a mall, but something seems off, as if the builders don’t entirely grasp how the place is supposed to look, so u end up with an environment that looks like it was built by a computer or aliens

it’s what I imagine zoo animals feel when they sit in their enclosure that’s themed after African plains, with fake trees and mountains, and a painting in the ceiling of a fake sky. [Example](https://www.zoochat.com/community/media/munich-zoo-penguin-exhibit.20806/full?d=0)

You know that feeling you get at the airport where you’re in a defined place, but you know you can’t stay there because it exists exclusively as a place-between-places, so it doesn’t quite feel right? That’s a liminal space.