Exploring liminality in public buildings

Experimental Spatial Intervention

Limen explored the process of liminality between outdoor and indoor public space through a spatial intervention consisting of two artefacts allowing passers-by to enter the building through slides on opposite building sides connected by a large-scale coloured carpet. Offering a playful way to enter the building and simple and universal symbols (carpet, attractive colour, welcome sign) intended to overrule visitors’ rational filters usually stopping them from entering the cultural space. Lamardebe performed the experiment on Saturday, October 15th from 13h to 17h during the opening day of Dé Hillevliet. Passers-by could approach the object, peak into the building’s windows, or slide into it to partake in the open day activities.
The experiment showed crucial insights into the mechanisms of public liminality: urban positioning, symbolic perception, approaching, interaction, action, self-reflection, and departure. The plateau joining the outdoor stair and the indoor slide funnelled the transition between outdoor and indoor between the private and public spheres. While sitting there preparing to slide, observing the crowd engage in public life, they had to decide whether to merge their individual bubble with the public or retreat into the comfort of their own environment. It provoked a sudden clash between the personal bubble and the macrosphere, according to Peter Sloterdijk’s sphereology theory. When confronted with the public, some people turned around and decided to leave others happily engaged in civic activities while continuing straight into a quieter area of the building. 

Images:  ©Mark Bolk Photography, Greta Samulionyte