Liminality in Kamiyama is a Place abstracted from its surroundings, an in-between space, out of context, without meaning. It is a transitional, empty, liminal space. A non-place, waiting for people to project a meaning onto it. It relates to the human desire to leave traces of presence. The desire one often has while visiting new environment. Cutting marks on trees, or throwing coins into fountains hoping to be back one day. Liminality includes a toolbox with carving tools, and a bench with a beautiful view towards Kamiyama onsen. It is an invitation – without any pressure to participate – to spend some time in the relaxing surrounding of the Kamiyama forest at Oawa Mountain and/or leave some traces of presence ‘set in stone’.

The term “liminality” describes the psychological process of crossing boundaries and traversing borders. It is a state of in-betweenness, characterized by a sense of uncertainty and possibility that arises when we have left behind one state but have not yet fully established ourselves in another. The term was coined by Arnold Van Gennep in 1908, in his seminal work “Rites of Passage,” in which he observed that many rituals across cultures serve to move individuals from one status or social circumstance to another.

Van Gennep was the first anthropologist to identify the regularity of rituals associated with transitional stages in human life. He delineated four key types of liminal experiences: physical movements, changes in social status, changes in situations, and the passage of time, which accompany every change of place, social position, state, and age. He noted that ritual ceremonies associated with life’s landmarks differ only in detail from one culture to another and are, essentially, universal.

Liminality can refer to the physical, emotional, and metaphorical transitions that occur throughout life. The liminal period is a time of passage from what an individual (or entity) was to what they will become. It is a transformative and often challenging period of ambiguity, marking a critical juncture in personal development and cultural evolution.

Oawa Mountain, Kamiyama, Tokushima, Japan, 2022

Concrete platform: 8x4m
Stone surface: 5.5x2m
Timber bench
Tool box with carving chisels

fot. Masataka Namazu