Liminal Spaces

My capstone project at Parsons explored the discomfort of transition, using a geometric staircase to symbolize transitional moments. Stairs are inherently transitional. To be on a staircase is to be in an in-between state. You are in-between the states of inside and outside, or the states of public and private, or the states of up and down, etc. In my work, this geometric stair shape acts as a lens through which we can understand shades of liminality: in nature, in architecture, in communication, and more.

Encyclopedia of Liminality

I started by creating an encyclopedia of liminality, wherein I collected some examples of liminal spaces and used my staircase shape as a photo frame to examine transitional moments.

Stairs in Motion

By manipulating the relationships of the squares that form this “transition” symbol in a series of motion sketches, I aimed to summarize the feelings of unease, of anticipation, of liminality inherent to the spaces I examined. How could deconstructing and rearranging this stair shape with motion begin to feel like standing on an escalator, or holding your breath in a swimming pool, or leaving Earth’s atmosphere?

Housing the Work

Finally, I created geometric perspective drawings intended to represent a liminal space of my own creation: a hypothetical giant art gallery onto which I could map my motion studies, housing these depictions of liminality themselves in an enormous liminal space.

This project uses Proxima Nova by Mark Simonso.
Advisors: Lucille Tenazas and Christine Moog