The act of stepping from one space into another, of passing through the threshold from garden to house, from one room to the next, is often performed casually, even incidentally. We pass through doors, gates, and openings dozens of times every day. But there is something significant—even immaterial—about this ubiquitous, narrow strip. It may be a small portion of the stone, wood, or concrete on which we tread, but its significance goes well beyond its material nature. A threshold can range from a few centimeters to a couple of meters in depth; from the extent of a nijiriguchi (small opening in the wall of a teahouse) to that of a massive torii (“gate”). Its common purpose is to simultaneously mark the beginning and end of something. A threshold brings us from one domain to another, separating and connecting each decisively in the process. Over time, one’s back-and-forth movement through this liminal space reveals the horizontal layers between the two sides. Whether short and sharp or long and soft, this interval filters the light, sounds, and heat along this gradient; the threshold becomes a fader, both dimming and amplifying the sounds on either side of this membrane.With a more extended interstitial construction, the “margin” becomes a distinct place in its own right, with its own characteristics and atmosphere. In short: it is a space between spaces. And although a threshold is by definition experienced in transition, its spatial quality is unique—that is, defined by neither of its adjacent domains. A blank surface is colored by various indirect influences, altering the appearance of these external projections before reflecting back an image of its own.
Toraya, June 2015
Text & Animation: Matthias Vollmer
Sound: Ludwig Berger