Betwixt & between: a visual representation of liminal space and beyond
AuthorBeyer, Suzanne Louise
AffiliationFine Arts and Music Collected Works
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2018 Suzanne Louise Beyer
This MFA examines how digital technology affects liminal space or the in-between. The title of this research paper ‘Betwixt & Between’, references the essay, Betwixt and Between: The liminal period in Rites De Passage, written by the cultural anthropologist Victor Turner in 1964. In this essay Turner describes the process of ritual initiation as a three stage process, the middle of which he assigns the term, liminal.1 ‘Visual representations of liminal space and beyond’ refers to the visual outcomes made while investigating the transformative nature of liminal space and what might occur beyond the threshold in the post liminal stage. Condensing the meaning of liminal space to its essence — that of transformation, the movie Xanadu is used as a medium and starting point for the process. Paul Stenner in, Liminality and Experience: A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Psychosocial, talks about, “the process of ritual as a type of technology,” and how, “at core, the various art forms (including theatre, painting, poetry, music and so forth) can also be considered as liminal affective technologies, and that they share important features with ritual .”2 The use of binary code, the very basis of computing, essentially transforms data from one form to another. This process of constant transformation creates multiple instances of liminal space. Using programming, microprocessors and electronics, the movie Xanadu is initially transformed using instruction. The raw data of the movie is altered to create glitches that reveal the materiality of the digital movie file. During the transformation process the liminal space is laid bare, poised on a threshold between one state and another. The use of digital technologies as part of the process when making these works introduces a collaboration in the making of the work. In some instances algorithms were applied to introduce an element of chance to the making. This action takes absolute control away from the artist and created collaborations between the program and the artist. The decision to use iPhones, iPads and HDMI displays, led the research to identify the interface as a liminal space. A comparison between the body and performance, to an interface, took the transformation one step further by providing a physical manifestation of liminal space. Examining this topic has led the research to determine that the process of making this work is central to the idea of liminal space and is just as important as the visual outcome. This idea is similar to ideas put forward by artists like Sol LeWitt that use instruction as a basis for their art making and Laura Owens who questions where a painting is, rather than what is a painting. As part of a post-internet practice, the final iteration of this process led research is presented in the form of a roller disco that echoes the theme of the movie and reveals the in-between for all to see. As part of the immersive exhibition, a series of electronic works, paintings, prints and a performance was presented in the Margaret Lawrence Gallery in December 2018.
Keywordsliminal space; transformation; datamosh; glitch; Xanadu; post internet
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