top of page

Threshold Subject 


Disaster events and films alike, thrust a subject into a threshold space, where the familiar is defamiliarised, Gloria Anzaldúa24 refers to this disrupted zone ––speaking of an earthquake zone–– as a ‘liminal, transitional space’. Anzaldúa posits that it is in liminal moments, those spaces and times where boundaries are blurred or transgressed, that self-transformation can occur. In these moments, our perspective is shifted, allowing for other perspectives and possibilities to be glimpsed. However, enduring these shattered and fluid perspectives can be immensely challenging, as the pull to return to our established, dogmatic ways of thinking is strong. This pull is particularly evident today, as we lack the rituals, narratives, and practices aimed at helping us inhabit these difficult liminal spaces and teach us to think in fluid and transformational ways. Rituals, collective or personal, carve out a space for creative reflection and emotional expression, that may equip a threshold subject with the tools necessary to embrace the fluidity of nonlinear perspectives and navigate the liminal spaces of transition and transformation.


By choosing visitation over invitation there is no anticipation of the visitor, welcoming a visitor requires one to be ‘happily vulnerable’. Derrida’s visitation means that we welcome alterity to enter this threshold with us in all forms, the stranger is not always well behaved, and can even be monstrous. In Surrealist filmmaking for instance, the spectators active role in transforming the film through the negotiation of meaning and subjectivity allows film to transcend time and space, to erupt from nothing, to break down “the barrier between self and other, between internal and external viewpoints, and inner and outer realities”.25 This breakdown of the inner and outer can be understood in terms of threshold visitation. Film, much like a disaster event, evades all certainty, the position of both the visitor and the threshold subject befall us, and all possibilities coexist once the pixels of light have erupted. If we follow this logic of film as a stranger or other, and the viewer as the threshold subject then we can make an uneasy jump to the film as a disaster event.

bottom of page