Audio Obscura – More Liminal Media

Yesterday on radio4 I overheard a fascinating description of an audio piece for railway stations and have been doing a bit of poking about. I’ve not experienced the piece but the descriptions by participants and the artist make it fit nicely into the concepts of the liminal and subjunctive worlds. Lavinia Greenlaw’s Audio Obscura is meant to be like a camera obscura for aural experiences.

Train stations are essentially liminal spaces, places of strangers, and everyone is passing through these thresholds on their own little or large journeys. The way that the voices you are hearing become attached to passersby and become overheard, internal monologues is a wonderful example of the subjunctive connections between two worlds, a diegetic amalgam. It is especially telling that Greenlaw places it in Manchester Piccadilly and London St Pancras and describes them as being international. Her use of words such as “physical,” “immediate” and “unsettled” as well as saying that the piece is intended to “give yourself away to those around you” shows how it works with the ideas of the liminal and with communitas.

It also occurred to me today that the deeper psychological explanation for subjunctivity and liminality is possibly to do with cognitive dissonance. Or experiencing tensions, breaking points and stretchings of dissonance.