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Liminal Space

The Lay-Up
84 South 6th Street, 917-797-1239
January 22 - February 18, 2010
Reception: Friday, January 22, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Jonathan Allen Andrea Chung Saman Kamyab Jon Eirik Kopperud Caitlin Masley Karl Mendonca Leah Oates Dawit L. Petros

“Liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, to an eclipse of the sun or moon.”[1]

Liminal Space, curated by F®iction Project, is a multimedia investigation of the multiplicity of marginal spaces, peripheral issues and transitional states that exist within the urban landscape. The term liminal, originating from the Latin word l?men, meaning threshold, alludes to a space-between, a place of ambiguity and transition––a site of passage in which borders, boundaries and thresholds are crossed. It is an indeterminate zone of oppositions, interactions, and exchange. This exhibition will examine the work of eight artists whose diverse artistic practices engage with the concept of liminality and its relationship to the global cityscape: as a heterogeneous network of transcultural exchange and hybridity, as well as a site of continual instability and flux.

As anthropologist Victor Turner notes, “Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremony.” [2] While written in 1969 in reference to socio-cultural rites of passage, Turner’s observations resonate with the conditions of perpetual metamorphosis within any globalizing, postmodern metropolis. Due to the ever-shifting morphologies of the global city, urban spaces have become incongruous arenas riddled with zones of disaffection, inequity and alienation––where subjective experience and individual conceptions of belonging are often estranged from the city’s ever-evolving framework. These various conditions of liminality provoked by rapid urban development confront the tension between visible/invisible, center/periphery, local/global and space/place, highlighting the temporal disconnect between past and present that results from the formation of these schisms. As the geographies of our cities mutate and become increasingly abstract, these spaces of indeterminacy reflect the processes of cultural translation and subjective negotiation that transpire amidst the conflict of these forces.

The work of Jonathan Allen, Andrea Chung, Saman Kamyab & Jon Eirik Kopperud, Caitlin Masley, Karl Mendonca, Leah Oates and Dawit Petros engages with the liminal both thematically and formally–– their diverse mediums and formal techniques engender countless potentialities and shades of grey, creating a space in which critical dialogue, perceptual shifts and new modes of cultural understanding and personal identification may occur. In an engagement with such locales as Bombay, Beijing, New York and Baghdad and through fractured narratives of memory and history, each artist questions the production of subjective experience within the delineated spaces of the global cityscape. These diverse practices draw attention to the ‘space-between’; blurring categorical boundaries and crossing metaphysical thresholds, allowing for the dissolution of perceptual and cultural borders, the dismantling of fixed identities, and the exploration of subjective/objective dynamics within the urban environment.

[1] Victor Turner, “Liminality and Comunitas,” The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969) 95.

[2] Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, 95.
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