LIMINALITY

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LIMINALITY is an immersive installation that examines representation and perspective. The project aims to materialize the emotive scape the Occupy Movement in liminal space, a threshold that bridges two existant states. 

On November 14, 2011 Dani and I brought six disposable cameras to Burnside Park, the home base of Occupy Providence. We attended that evening's General Assembly and introduced ourselves and our intentions during the announcement section of the meeting. Dani and I described our vision for LIMINALITY and petitioned those in attendance for their assistance. We asked that Occupiers interested in participating in the project use these cameras over the course of 24 hours to document how they felt within and about the space of Occupy.The following day three cameras were retrieved and 78 photos were developed. These photos were used as individual frames that came to compose a short video.

The pictures, and in turn the video, represent a snap-shot of Occupy Providence's emotive-scape. At first, the video compiled from these images advanced slowly and allowed each image to be examined over the duration of several seconds. The progression of images gradually speed up. At the film's end the photographs were displayed at 26 frames per second, which effectively washed the colorful images white.

On December 3, 2011, Dani and I presented LIMINALITY at Burnside Park. The project dovetailed the aforementioned video with an interactive sculpture.  The video, which was set to continuous loop and played for the duration of approximately two hours, was projected onto two screens placed in parallel at a distance of three feet. The positioning of the screens created a passageway. While the video was being projected externally upon each screen audience members were invited to walk though the claustrophobic passageway.

LIMINALITY was inspired by the critique that, when considered broadly, the Occupy movement is essentially illegible. Critics and pundits often ask: What do protesters participating in the Occupy movement want? What is the movement's agenda? What does Occupy stand for?

It is easy to understand and determine the needs and/or desires of individual occupiers if, for example, you go to any Occupied site nationally or internationally and engage any one of the movement's members. Over the course of an one-on-one conversation you most likely will be introduced to many concerns and grievances. My experience has been that each specific concern is linked to a specific story that bears a degree of emotional content and response. I have felt sympathetic and responsive to these stories and have both compassion and understanding for the perspectives and desires of the individual raconteurs. However, the Occupy movement explicitly permits and encourages plurality. Many people, many stories, many feelings and many grievances have merged onto Occupied sites.Taken in sum such plurality is seemingly impossible to parse, especially by media analysts on media outlets who attempt to suss out a common story. Beyond the bounds of Occupied space, representations of Occupy become an overwhelming onslaught of images and information, just like a wash of light or noise.

Following this line of logic, the video component of LIMINALITY attempts to explore the tension between Occupier's legible expressions of self-representation and the illegible mass-representation depicted in the media.

Further, LIMINALITY demonstratively asks its audience to examine their position in relation to the Occupy movement.  The installation invited its audience to investigate the space between the screens, a passageway within which audience members were immersed in Occupy Providence's recorded emotive-scape. An audience member's immersive experience was forgone if they choose not enter the installation. Thus, beyond the installation the audience simply experienced LIMINALITY's visual elements. The same can be said for those who choose to learn about the Occupy movement indirectly through the media as opposed to engaging directly with actual active Occupiers. Dani and I attempted to highlight the shift in perception that occurred when one moved from outside to inside the installation and, metaphorically, the Occupy movement. 

Video Documentation

- Jen

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