Liminality, the rite of passage


The concept of liminality was developed by Arnold Van Gennep, and used by Victor Turner, and refers to a state of opening and ambiguity in an intermediate phase of a tripartite space/time (preliminal is a previous phase, liminal is an intermediate phase and posliminal is a subsequent phase). The word liminal means “on the threshold,” coming from Latin limen, “threshold”. The concept alludes to being an intermediate state, phase, or condition. Is it usually used to refer to a middle stage of rituals, particularly the “rites of passage”, where an individual or a group in many cultures celebrate cycles of growth and transformation in nature as three-fold sequential structures. The liminal phase usually consists on removing the previous forms and limits to access the new ones. It is usually ambiguous and disorientating, but it also opens the possibility of new perspectives.

What I like about this concept is the idea of being in-between realities, sort of like in a limbo or towards a destination. In the experience that I want to create, I want people to feel that through their movement, they are slowly stepping into a new world -which may be a product of their imagination or subconscious. There is something very interesting about meditation or trance which is the idea of a journey or travel to a different world in our minds, a departure from the ordinary, leaving common thoughts behind. Its is a transformation that happens in time, almost like a journey.

According to Victor Turner, a liminal experience can also be collective or communal. He talks about it as an anti-structural and anti-hierarchical manifestation of society. It is a situation where a generic “spiritual” communion between social subjects surpasses the specificities of stratification. This is a time when the trivial differences are suspended, which allows a “step” between social status and other.

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