The Origins of the Liminal

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Liminality is integral to the a? achment New Zealanders have to their coastline. These are the borderlands where we fi rst se? led, threshold spaces that we escape to play and unwind from the everyday, where our fondest memories are formed in the intensity of experience. 11 Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker, The Beach: the history of paradise on earth (New York: Viking Penguin, Historically, the human occupa? on of New Zealand has been totally embedded into its mari? me culture.
The fi rst human journeyed to New Zealand over 700 years ago and brought with him a strong mari? me culture from his island home. Equipped with the necessary naviga? onal skills, and sailing sophis? cated double-hull waka, human culture developed in the new land, quickly discovering and se? ling in the numerous islands in and surrounding New Zealand. This unique Maori culture con? nued their close associa? on with the sea. Se? ling close to the watery shore, the proximity aff orded plen? ful sea, forest and wetland food sources, protec? ve observa? on and sea bound transport routes.13
In the second half of the nineteenth century European se? lement was well underway, but they did not bring with them an affi nity with the sea that the indigenous communi? es had on arrival. The European saw the sea as dangerous as many did not know how to swim; the sea was a place of work, not play.
Drowning’s and shark a? acks were a common occurrence, but morally this borderland posed the largest threat. In the conserva? ve society of the ? me, the beach provided space for young men and women to mix freely in skimpy a? re, away from the supervision of protec? ve parents and other adults.14
It was not un? l the turn of the century un? l swimming in the sea was established as an accepted
pas? me. Sunbathing and water sports such as surfi ng and sailing fl ourished in the interwar years, largely a? ributed to scien? sts of the ? me advoca? ng the health benefi ts of exposing the skin to sunlight. The 13 Raewyn Peart, What’s Happening to the New Zealand Coast? (Nelson, NZ: Craig Po? on Publishing, 2009),  stay in the family bach or camp is a ritual for many New Zealand families even today.15
These experiences, especially those in the early years, play a large part in shaping the lives of New
Zealanders. This impact is predominantly seen in the crea? ve industries, where a large range of work is shaped by the ar? sts’ experiences on the coastline. New Zealand crea? ves, such as painters Leo Bensemann, Doris Lusk, Colin McCahon, writers Katherine Mansfi eld, Maurice Shadbolt, Keri Hulme, and poets Sam Hunt, James K Baxter and Wi? Ihimaera, are deeply inspired by the dynamism and unpredictability of our coastal loca? ons.1
The condi? ons of the liminal a? ract and inspire; scores of holiday makers every summer period fl ock to the coastline to revel in the space between. Our iden? ty is shaped by this edge condi? on and the feelings and ac? vi? es it facilitates. Development on the edge to accommodate the masses must be in tune with the coastlines liminal essence if this New Zealand iden? ty is to be retained.

Chapter 1 The Coastal Places Passed Through
1.1 Liminal
1.2 Iden? ty
1.3 Development
Chapter 2 The Origins of the Liminal
2.1 Concep? on
2.2 Development
Chapter 3 The Poe? cs of Liminality
3.1 Poetry
3.2 Short Story Literature
3.2.1 The Return of the Prodigal Son
3.2.2 Ordeal
3.3 Film
3.4 Sculpture
Chapter 4 Theory
4.1 Links
4.2 Phenomenology
4.3 Case-study
Chapter 5 Design
5.1 Site Circumstance and Idea
5.2 The Enmeshed Experience
5.3 Perspec? val Space
5.4 Hap? c Realm
5.5 Of Sound
5.6 Light and Shadow
5.7 Water as a Phenomenal Lens
5.8 Propor? on, Scale and Percep? on
5.9 Spa? ality of Night
5.10 Plans
5.11 Sec? ons
List of Figures
Presenta? on

the liminal: rediscovering value in a journey

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