Gabriel Smoller


Liminal Spaces


Liminal Spaces explores the discomfort of transition. My work started as an examination of the many diverse ways that Brooklynites use their stoops. I loved thinking about stoops as loosely definable moments of transition (from upstairs to downstairs, inside to outside, private to public, etc.), and I soon discovered countless examples of these transitional, liminal spaces, both tangible and intangible. In my work, a geometric staircase symbolizes these transitional moments, acting as a frame through which we regard shades of liminality: in nature, in architecture, in communication, and more.

By manipulating the relationships of the squares that form this “transition” symbol in a series of motion sketches, I aimed to summarize the feelings of liminality inherent to the spaces I examined. How can deconstructing this stair shape with motion begin to feel like standing on an escalator, or holding your breath in a swimming pool, or feeling yourself leaving Earth’s atmosphere?

Finally, I created geometric perspective drawings intended to represent a liminal space of my own creation: a hypothetical giant art gallery onto which I could map my motion studies, housing these depictions of liminality themselves in an enormous liminal space.