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Nowhere: An Installation by Gregory Orekhov

The break space: Psychological relief in liminal spaces

by Ivan

The latest art installation by Gregory Orekhov, Nowhere, is a 250-meter long red carpet situated amidst Malevich Park in Moscow, Russia. This vivid constrast against the white snow-covered forest creates a long liminal space from beginning to end.

Imposing sculptures and massive installations are the trademarks of the Russian contemporary artist. In this case, juxtaposing pure forms with unexpected materials, his installation strives to impact, create emotion, and evoke self-reflection.

The term ‘liminal space’ is derived from the Latin word ‘threshold’ and signifies an ‘in-between’ time and place, void of responsibilities, obligations or orders. It is identified as the moment a person has exited one identity but has not reached the next. Van Gennep spoke of liminal spaces in his novel Rites of Passage in 1908 as places that hold a ritual of physical and temporal passage: an intermediate boundary, signifying the halfway point between one identity and another.

These spaces promote change and transform the behaviour of their inhabitants and represent in-between transitions between private and public identities. While transitioning through these liminal spaces, boundaries become blurred, and identities are released so that new ones can be attained. Therefore, these transitional spaces are invaluable as their inhabitants can attain relief from the pressures of their private or public lives before facing the other.

At the same time, these transitional spaces are conducive to inspiration and creative breakthroughs. Because the liminal spaces are void of pressures or stresses, they allow the mind to solve problems – whether from work or home. The relaxation and restoration experienced in these in-between spaces are necessary to achieve equilibrium and a balance, resulting in problem-solving and innovation.

At the same time, these transitional spaces are conducive to inspiration and creative breakthroughs. Because the liminal spaces are void of pressures or stresses, they allow the mind to solve problems – whether from work or home. The relaxation and restoration experienced in these in-between spaces are necessary to achieve equilibrium and a balance, resulting in problem-solving and innovation.

Bachelard (1964) argues that “every corner in a house, every angle in a room, every inch of secluded space in which we like to hide or withdraw into ourselves, is a symbol of solitude for the imagination” (p. 136). Spaces like hallways, stairways and empty corners have been out of sight, used mainly to transition through the home. These spaces can now come into full use. These in-between spaces must be explored and enhanced encourage well-being. While the COVID-19 pandemic has removed or reshaped traditional liminal spaces, the importance of a physical and temporal space for introspective reflection and psychological respite is critical as we continue into the future.

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8 comments

Georges February 10, 2022 - 10:25

Wonderfully written and thought provoking! Thanks for sharing.

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Ivan Ocampo February 10, 2022 - 10:41

Thanks Georges! Keep coming back for more content!

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Kirsty February 10, 2022 - 10:28

Thanks for posting

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Ivan Ocampo February 10, 2022 - 10:41

Thanks for reading!

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Julie Willis February 10, 2022 - 10:32

I adore the works by Van Gennep.

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Nat February 10, 2022 - 10:38

Haunting and beautiful. Hauntingly beautiful.

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Gustav February 10, 2022 - 12:20

I’m so glad I came across this! Thank you for sharing.

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Amy February 10, 2022 - 14:43

every corner in a house, every angle in a room, every inch of secluded space in which we like to hide or withdraw into ourselves, is a symbol of solitude for the imagination.

Perfect conceptualisation of secluded life during covid! Wonderful post.

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