Many people claim to find liminal spaces eerie, or nostalgic. While many liminal space images make me nostalgic, they rarely make me uncomfortable. In fact, my usual reaction to them is something I've never seen others mention: intrigue.

Many liminal space images contain passages leading to unseen places. This apparently unsettles people because they suspect that something is lurking out of sight. I tend to assume that wherever the mysterious exits lead is as empty as what can be seen in the image, and looking at them fills me with a desire to explore. Other people say that they'd feel trapped or claustrophobic, but I'd be content to keep wandering through a vast labyrinth of liminal spaces, discovering new locations as I go. I'm particularly fond of this video because of the variety of locations encountered; each is visually interesting in a different way. I'm the opposite of claustrophobic; I like being in small confined spaces as it makes me feel comfortable.

Many liminal spaces are situated in office buildings, schools or other large communal buildings with many sections and passageways. I like exploring vast complex buildings in real life, especially at night when the silence and artificial lighting are more intense and I am unlikely to meet anyone else. I find it exciting to be in office buildings and similar places at night, because their atmosphere completely changes when everyone has left, and possibly because I'm not really supposed to be there.

I currently spend most of my time on a university campus, so I have 24-hour access to several such buildings, which I occasionally explore for fun. Part of the appeal is finding my way around. I have a good sense of direction and find it satisfying to explore until I reach a dead end, then retrace my steps to a familiar place. I also like how this leads me to find places I wouldn't normally visit, as my schedule doesn't require me to. Reaching a locked door or other obstacle is disappointing, especially when I can see what's on the other side but can't reach it.

I also like liminal spaces because I enjoy being alone. Liminal space images suggest complete emptiness, quiet except for white noise such as flowing water or the hum of fluorescent lights. This dreamlike ambiance¹ makes them relaxing for me (the exact opposite of the discomfort they seem to instil in other people). I feel as though I could sit down and think for some time before continuing to explore. When I'm exploring buildings irl, if I happen to meet other people it spoils the atmosphere. This could be because they're there to carry out tasks rather than explore, so their presence reminds me of mundanity when I'd rather be in a contemplative state of mind. I might not mind if there was one (more would be too many) other person exploring with me.

The last main reason why liminal spaces appeal to me is their vague familiarity (an opinion many seem to share). My family moved house several times when I was younger, so images of furniture-less houses are particularly evocative for me. So are images of pools, which remind me of learning to swim. I like pictures of outdoor playgrounds, as I had a lot of fun on them and wish I'd been allowed to play on them more, and indoor playgrounds, whose bright/pastel colours I find comforting. According to some faint memories, I only got the chance to play on indoor playgrounds as a toddler; I remember passing by a few when I was older, but not being allowed to go in.

As an adult, I still harbour a strong desire to play on playgrounds, both outdoors and indoors. However having to avoid small children would be annoying, and I'd look like a creep; and even if I were lucky enough to find an empty playground, no one my age would want to play with me. I like to imagine liminal spaces as infinite, and I have a fantasy of exploring an infinite playground with a friend.

Liminal Space Gallery

¹Dreamlike/surreal images appeal to me in general. I am a fan of surreal art; my favourite artists include Zdzisław Beksiński, Suguru Tanaka and M. C. Escher.