{ threshold }


A threshold as an archetypical form is a passage, a space that connects by separating and vice versa. For example, we say that we reach or overcome a threshold. The threshold’s significance lies in its primary form: it is there to divide two situations, such as public/private.

The division implies the existence of a border: “In the colonial imaginary, a border traces the limits of civilisation before the dark world of barbarism, savagery, and underdevelopment” (Gavroche, 2015). A border exists as a separating line drawn on the ground or a raised wall. It also exists as an embodied experience or a conceptual barrier. The separation is ethical and political, announcing a division between what is permitted and not permitted, what is legal and illegal, between the included and the excluded. The notion of the border has expanded into the urban landscape because as a discourse it serves to divide, but also to rationalise and conquer. Thus, the border can be defined as a spatial manifestation of control.

On the other hand, a threshold is associated with notions of space-making, as it defines the place in-between, and is imagined as the passage through the border. But this quality of ‘letting things through’, is necessarily in a constant flux, meaning that at the moment it is solidified it becomes non-existent. To this end, the threshold as a concept is defined as the result of practices and rituals that perforate the border, and as the spatial articulation of playful acts that oppose a dominant will to solidify meanings and uses. Acts of play, according to Situationist vocabulary, are used to “undermine the very institution of language, and therefore both social order and authoritative control” (Ko, 2008). In our context, practices of play are conceived as small invasions of personal desire into the public sphere.


Konstantina Pappa