Liminal Spaces

Liminal Spaces

Cole Stork

A newer trend in online communities has been the capturing of “liminal spaces.” Pictures are taken with the intent to convey “nostalgia, lostness, and uncertainty.” A liminal space can truly be anything. As long as the viewer receives a specific barely describable feeling from an image of a place or area then one could claim it’s a liminal space.

The trend started in 2019 on 4chan with a post on the /x/ board. The post was captioned “noclipping out of bounds in real life.” To “noclip” is a concept from video games where the player avatar is not affected by the boundaries of the game and can merge and fall through what should be solid objects. It is a commonly used cheat or hack.

The image showed a hallway with yellow carpets and wallpaper. This image was dubbed “the Backrooms.” With nothing but, “the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in.”

An entire lore was created for this one image on the message board. This led to the creation of a new message board on Reddit called “Liminal Spaces.” On this subreddit, over 250,000 followers collect and catalog images “where something is just not quite right.”