liminal points

kazooie  asked:

I just read your post about Spirited Away and was wondering if you could tell us about the train station? About it representing a liminal space? I'm fascinated by this!

Oh, thank you for reading my rambling! 

A liminal space is essentially the place between one thing and another. It’s a crossing point/threshold. Liminality isn’t limited to just actual spaces though (like rest stops, and doorways.) It’s used to signify a persons journey from one stage to the next. For example, a teenager is by some accounts, liminal. They’re the threshold from childhood, into adulthood. The crossing point. 

In terms of the train station (more specifically, the tunnel) in spirited away. It’s literally the crossing point where the human world ends, and the spirit realm begins (and vice versa). From the spirits perspective they see the red/green station and clock tower (just as Chihiro does), from a human perspective you see the brown brick walls. 

At night, the train station is separated from the bathhouse town by a HUGE river. But in the day time, it’s nothing but a tiny stone river bed that can be easily crossed. Water has always been considered a threshold in mythology. Something that separates and cleanses. In this instance, all land areas in Spirited Away are parted by bodies of water. 

It’s pretty cool when you view the world building perspective of this. Chihiro’s story is FULL of gates. The fact she’s moving home. The train station tunnel that leads her to spirit realm, the river that cuts her off, her entry to the bathhouse, her contract, the fact the train is one-way only. 

This whole story pushes Chihiro onward without a way to run backwards. Everything must push her forward into her journey, that allows her to mature.

In this sense, we get Chihiro’s coming-of-age journey. Her movement from a child to an ‘adult’. A more mature, steady mindset. Chihiro learns to not look backwards.

Which is why I think the train station is so important. It opens her journey, and it closes her journey. It’s through that physical threshold, that the path she needed to transition through her own transformation was made possible. 

So it’s something of a parallel. The physical gate between two realms, and the encompassing one of growth. Both points existed in liminality. 

I think I did more rambling here, than research. But these were my thoughts on it! Thank you for listening. 

gerhard richter

september, 2005

oil on canvas 

the image is at the very edge of being recognizable, at that liminal point where the information it contains could be read any number of ways and the mind must struggle to create a whole, or pictorial Gestalt, out of the diffuse, ill-defined contours of the forms and the apparent coding of the color. In sum, viewers must mentally reconstitute a likeness that is in effect disintegrating before their eyes…. Compared with what eyewitnesses can recall even with the passage of time and what video and photography have captured and preserved, Richter’s version—or, better said, vision—of 9/11/01 is an eroded representation of a monument blown to smithereens, the ghost of a ghost.

— Robert Storr, from September: A History Painting By Gerhard Richter, Tate Publishing, 2011