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January 23, 2007

Borders, Boundaries & Liminal States


Call for Participation

Borders, Boundaries & Liminal States, a three day conference (April 26-28, 2007) in Second Life, will explore divisions and shed light on these ideas and on the nature of the synthetic environment. Hosted by Ars Virtua at the New Media Consortium campus.

• Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, states or sub-national administrative divisions.

• The boundary of a set (in mathematics) is those points that can be approached from within the set and without. It is all points not contained in the interior of a set.

• The liminal state (in ritual) is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition, during which normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed, opening the way to something new. --(wikipedia)

Borders are frequently under contention; they are regions that neatly separate two entities and enable a form of deconstruction. However, the distinctions formed by borders are not sufficient and we realize that often the border begins to represent a third region and generates more contentious borders.

It is truly difficult to discern the breadth a border, an indeterminate space, and it's depth is dependent on the sphere, there is a point when you can cross into the "other." Borders would be impossible to cross if this was false and the liminal space would disappear.

It is our assertion that the synthetic world is a fundamentally liminal space. This is not because it is functionally transitional, except perhaps that it is not a destination, but that it functions parallel to 'real' space and remains temporary in its occupancy.

Our interest lies in both the synthetic and the terrestrial world though fundamentally one is a subset of the other. A Venn diagram may hold visual information about this relationship, but it misses the point. There is a functional liminal space that exists outside the terrestrial. We want to emphasize that while there is a relationship here the liminal space that is created synthetically doesn't exist in a terrestrial sense. So the atoms and the electrons are terrestrial and represented by our friend Venn, the intellectual space is not however anything but contained by materials and represents a different space.

To that end we are considering sessions relating to gender/sexuality, race, architecture, body/technology, body/digital image, life/non-life, transgenics, and game/environment.

If you have an interest in these topics and would like to present, or would like to suggest another topic please contact nmc[at]arsvirtua.com.

Posted by jo at January 23, 2007 09:55 AM