Transitional space: a summary

OkaY! In the interests of things that I want to write about, I must first make posts about the theories I want to write about. Mainly the idea of transitional/liminal space as it applies to film. 

So. The idea of transitional space is that it is the place between a child’s inner world and the external reality. Most of us have probably been told at some point or another that the world does not revolve around us. This is half true. The external world, the one in which we eat and sleep and work and murder  in, does not give any consideration to our demands. Each of us have an internal world, however, where we are Ruler Divine, and we are most definitely the centre of that world. Nothing there happens unless we want it to.

Children are born without the understanding of their limitations in the external world that adults have. Their world revolves around them. When a baby is hungry, ideally it is fed. To the baby this is simply to world reacting to what it wants. As children grow older, they begin to understand that the world is not a part of them and it does not necessarily change according to their wishes.

Understandably this discovery can be quite horrifying. And so comes in idea of transitional phenomena, in the form of the activity we know as playing. Transitional phenomena are objects that exist in the physical/external world and in the internal world of the individual. A stuffed animal, for example, is clearly a physical thing and subjected to the same rules of reality as the rest of the world, but it may also be brought into the child’s inner world where its role is whatever the child wants it to be. Playing takes place beyond the inner world but is not firmly rooted in the external, it is the threshold between the two and allows children to explore these boundaries. This threshold area, this third world, is transitional- or liminal- space, the space in between. We might better know it as the imagination, where we take ideas and objects from the external and experiment with them according to our own, inner desires.

This definition of transitional space can be applied to film- indeed most forms of creative media- a place where internal desires are mixed with external rules. A film is a visualisation of someone’s- or many someones’- play, brought to life by ever more realistic technology. However, by offering film to others, it also becomes a potential gateway into transitional space for others by giving them new ideas, characters, rules to take into their own imaginations and play with in their own ways. They are themselves an imaginary space freed from the bounds of our reality and an invitation into said space to make it our own.


About frenzysista

Hannah has often been informed that she is intelligent and has the potential to achieve great things. She generally agrees that the potential could be there but is also a terrible procrastinator and lazy to boot. She currently resides in Victoria and lavishes about 38% of her attention on studying the mystical thing that is the creative arts. The other 62% of her time is divided unevenly between celebrating her fandoms online, sleeping, learning how not to talk to people and saving the world. Oh, and writing. Definitely that thing. In other words, you're reading the thoughts of one highly opinionated, entirely sleep deprived fangirl-y adult
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One Response to Transitional space: a summary

  1. Pingback: Scopophilia and male gaze: pleasurable looking and patriarchy | Suddenly a wild teenager appears!

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