Louise Povey


Liminality is derived from the Latin term limen, meaning threshold; Arnold Van Gennep also described ‘”liminal state”’ as the middle space within ritualistic passages. [1] Transience of in-between spaces is the central focus within my practice because I am interested in how beings adjust the self mentally, physically and spiritually within these voids, transforming between identities. Noël Arnaud poetically transcribed ‘I am the space where I am’ and Anda-Ioana Sfinteş explains how ‘boundaries define places and existence’; therefore liminal spaces exist as blurred realms of space-time which defy boundaries of identity and perspective, and we are propelled forward within a processional transformation from one identity to another. [2]

Transitioning in-between, we become ghosts in shells. This loss of identity is reflected in the silhouettes I animate, which are visually similar to shadows, existing simultaneously as an extension and absence of the self, depicting lost detail and lost bodies. I use poetry to accompany my images and to provide rhythm for storytelling; storytelling has become an important method within my practice as words are vessels which embody space, meaning and duration, yet they are intangible. I created GIFs to accompany my poems; these provided visuals which exist between still image and film, however this process evolved into film-making to deliver a longer, stronger narrative. While developing storytelling films, I have learned that context is important in order for spectators to engage with the artwork.

SF is a genre which changes, in part, from fiction to reality as technology develops; Anne Balsamo comments that ‘the future has imploded into the present and the present itself has become increasingly like science fiction.’ [3] Vanishing Point (2018), which is my final exhibited artwork, consists of an animated film representing the Star Trek: Enterprise episode (S2E10) in which the main protagonist, Ensign Hoshi Sato, uses a transporter for the first time. She fears the loss of herself while transitioning from one space to another, thus both the title and theme relate strongly to my intentions. I chose to animate this narrative audibly and visually to emphasise the liminal space which is digitally transitioned by Hoshi; it also links to the processional journey within the story of Plato’s Cave, transcending from the darkness of the cave toward light, and exploring the relationship between light and truth. Nina Kawar suggests that ‘engaging in what is above and below also requires the viewer to decelerate and be aware of their surroundings…this in-between stage generates contemplation.’ [4] During the transportation, I intentionally lengthened the narrative to emphasise this contemplative, liminal journey, not dissimilar to Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole, to identify the transition between identities and thus how identity is a temporary construction, layered upon the self. Neon blue light, relating to Science Fiction (SF) and digital technology, outlines a passage into the room which is embodied by SF transporting sounds; the film itself is projected onto a wall which provides a source of light yet is digital and intangible to simulate a lost body, a lost identity; ultimately existing between absence and presence.

Expanding on liminality, the artworks collectively explore the existence of transitional passages, intending to make the spectator aware of the theory that identity is a temporary construct which is transformed and developed through dislocations in-between space-time.

[1] Ibrahim, Niven, Liminality in Architecture, Paper 1439 (Canada: Ryerson University, 2012)3

[2] GASTON BACHELARD, THE POETICS OF SPACE, TRANSLATED BY MARIA JOLAS (BOSTON: BEACON PRESS, 1969) 137, Anda Ioana Sfinteş, Rethinking Liminality: Built Form as Threshold-Space, May 2012 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283328321_RETHINKING_LIMINALITY_BUILT_FORM_AS_THRESHOLD-SPACE accessed 6/4/2018


[4] Nina Kawar Liminal (2014) accessed 4/4/2018 https://search.proquest.com.idpproxy.reading.ac.uk/docview/1654423370?accountid=13460