The threshold of comfort
Victor Burgin in one of his interviews talks about an image being not just optical but an ‘event in the mind’ by the viewer observing. This idea has been to some extent a guiding principle for this assignment: Victor Burgin in conversation with Ian Wallace https://vimeo.com/61977802 (2014), Vimeo [accessed, July 2020]
This project goes into the subject of liminality. The topic rests on the structure of the three classical parts of the book by Arnold Van Gennep in his anthropological research in relation to the three stages of transition in ‘rites of passage’. Loosely structured around these three phases of the neophyte (post liminal) threshold (liminal) and re-integration (or re-association) the series of photos aims to speak conceptually to the viewer about processes of change and transition that take place in life, consciously or less so. I have used a chronological structure moving through roughly different ages of people in order to activate signifiers of change. Liminality is related to transition and as Thomassen says if it is not to do with transition it isn’t liminal. (Thomassen, 2014:15)
This broadly explored concept has fascinated me as I feel that change and impermanence are key principles that are explored in photography in an external sense as well as being referent and relevant to personal inner processes as a human being. Whilst liminality is spoken about in different ways I think that as a subject for a project it has been most useful to try and stay with the earlier interpretation of liminality as a state of being betwixt and between.
The title changed several times starting from: ‘dressed to die’, then: ‘liminoid’ and then finally resting on: ‘The threshold of comfort,’ which seemed most apt to sum up what the subjective experience is often like on a personal inner level.
According to Thomassen (2014) we are living in a time of almost permanent liminality, whereby the sense of change is overwhelming and stability, only momentary and fleeting.
Link below to video ↓
Click to enlarge:
Thomassen, B. Liminality and the modern, living through the in-between (2014) Ashgate publishing company.