When I was fourteen, my family went on a trip to Kona, Hawaii, and I brought my first video camera with me, a Sony HI8 HandyCam; I was rarely seen without it. Although most tourists capture Hawaii’s environmental beauty, I, for some unknown reason, mostly chose to film anything but the typical scenic viewpoints of majestic volcanoes, black sand beaches or botanical gardens; instead, I documented the ordinary events of the everyday: the hotel elevator, the front desk attendant, the other tourists coming and going in the hotel lobbies, the bathroom, and the TV in the hotel room that was continuously showing a loop of activities geared toward getting tourists out of their rooms. Little did I suspect that this unique point of view would continue to influence my work twenty years later.
During the intervening liminal period, the state of the ritual subject (the “passenger,” or “liminar,”) becomes ambiguous, neither here nor there, betwixt and between all fixed points of classification; he passes through a symbolic domain that has few or none of the attributes of his coming state. — Victor Turner
Past points of view continue to influence present work. They both operate within a liminal space, between ordinary and extraordinary people, places and things in my everyday life. Throughout my methodology I act as an ethnographic researcher using a set of conceptual tools for investigation to observe these categories. The term liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the “threshold” of or between two different existential planes, as defined in neurological psychology (a “liminal state”) and in the anthropological theories of ritual by such writers as Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner. In ethnographic research, the researcher is in a liminal state, separated from his own culture yet not incorporated into the host culture — where he or she is both participating in the culture and observing the culture. The researcher must consider the self in relation to others and his or her positioning in the culture being studied.
This is a series of posts revised from my MFA thesis Shift, that I developed at the Rhode Island School of Design.