Living in a city such as Singapore, we traverse scenes such as looming tall buildings and heavy traffic — both vehicle and human — on a daily basis. However, there will still be times where we come across some places that evoke a sense of uneasiness and deep nostalgia within us.
Essentially, that is the concept of liminal space.
Liminal spaces are physical spaces that express the transitional nature between two locations. They typically evoke an “uneasy nostalgia” and liminal spaces typically include, but are not limited to bridges, doorways, corridors, and even staircases.
Usually with these types of spaces, feelings of time displacement and ambiguity arise, making one feel like they are not in the past or the present. At least, that was how looking at them made me feel!
If you’re a fan of liminal spaces just like I am, here are some interesting places scattered around our daily lives in Singapore that give off that vibe.
Staircases are prevalent everywhere in our garden city. We encounter them in HDBs and even at the MRT stations, with long escalators bringing us from one place to another.
These simple mechanisms ascend and/or descend us from Point A to Point B, and in itself they are transitional spaces and one of the best places to evoke a feeling of liminal space.
As with most hotels, there is always a level of eeriness and creepiness with its winding corridors spanning many rooms on each floor.
Not only that, there is also something unsettling about the carpeted floors which muffle sound and noise but draw out an uneasy silence at the same time.
Some hotels have such unique architecture that it makes you feel like you’re not even in real life. I mean, take a look at this, it’s as if I’m inside the backrooms!
The perception of liminal spaces usually comes with images of an underpass with a long walk path and if you think about it, Singapore has no shortage of such underpasses.
From underground pathways connecting the Red Line to the Green Line at City Hall MRT, or even pedestrian tunnels at Clarke Quay and East Coast Park, there are plenty of liminal space areas!
Besides being a place of transit to travellers and a national landmark for Singapore, Changi Airport is also well known for being a food haven and now, a perfect spot for encapsulating a liminal space vibe.
For a place that never sleeps, the airport’s magic is lost on our daily lives but when Circuit Breaker happened two years ago, time came to a standstill and a deserted Changi Airport was born.
The eeriness is definitely pronounced in this part of the airport with no one around.
One of the most iconic types of liminal spaces are the long and empty corridors and hallways. I don’t know about you but every time I am walking along a narrow stretch of corridor with nothing but the concrete walls and my echoing footsteps accompanying me, I feel a sense of dread and uneasiness.
Perhaps hallways do act as a sort of ‘bridge’ from one stationary point to the other, and I suppose this is what evokes that feeling of nervousness whenever one traverses between those points.
Playgrounds are iconic places that are close to many people’s childhood memories and inner child. It does a very good job in eliciting a sense of deep nostalgia within oneself and there is always something comforting accompanying that image.
But with most things in liminal spaces, there is a fine line to thread between uneasiness and the sense of nostalgia. comfort and resulting queasiness.
As a child, there has always been something about pools that makes me feel a little anxious. Whether it is the tiled pool floor that reflects the blue-ish green colour of the water, or the way sound just distorts when you’re underwater, pools are definitely a hit or miss with the creepy vibes.
Carparks are famous for wide empty spaces and the occasional flickering lights. In multi-storey carparks especially, there are a lot of empty lots especially near the higher levels that provide for an uneasy setting.
In places like these, I always feel like somebody’s watching me, hiding behind the white pillars and waiting to pounce out anytime…
Or maybe that’s just the feel of the liminal space talking.
And there you have it, here are eight types of liminal spaces scattered around Singapore and blending into our everyday life. Perhaps the next time when you walk around these places, look out for such liminal spaces and see if they make you feel this way too!
For more lifestyle updates like this, subscribe to our Telegram channel at @confirmgood.