Liminal Spaces photo example of a long dimly lit hallway.

Liminal Spaces / Images With Elegiac Auras / Dreamcore

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Updated Sep 18, 2023 at 11:49AM EDT by Philipp.

Added Aug 17, 2020 at 07:17PM EDT by R-Switz.

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About

Liminal Spaces, is an architectural term that defines "the physical spaces between one destination and the next," such as hallways, airports and streets. After the popularization of The Backrooms meme in May 2019, social media pages collecting images of liminal spaces gained viral popularity, most notably the /r/LiminalSpace subreddit.

In meme culture, the understanding of a "liminal space" is less strict and can be applied to any empty place built by humans that looks dissonant with reality for any subjective reason. Online, they also are referred to as "images with elegiac auras," "places that feel strangely familiar," "places you've been to in your dreams," etc. The images are sometimes considered a subgenre of cursed images.

Online History

The online popularization of images of liminal spaces follows the trend of The Backrooms meme that began in May 2019. On May 12th, 2019, an anonymous 4chan[1] user launched a thread of "disquieting images" that "felt off" on the /x/ board, posting a photograph of an empty hallway lit by square ceiling lights and with its walls covered with monotonous yellow wallpaper. In the same thread, another user replied[2] with a creepypasta based on the photograph, spawning the meme.



"If you're not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you'll end up in the Backrooms, where it's 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
God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you.

Prior to the /x/ thread, several notable tweets about liminal places were made online. On May 21st, 2018, Twitter[3] user @ReiverCafferata replied to another tweet with an explanation about liminal spaces, with their tweet gaining over 100 retweets and 1,400 likes (shown below, left). On March 15th, 2019, Twitter[4] user @zerstoerer tweeted a photograph of the interior of a Holiday Inn Express near Heathrow Airport in London, England.[5] The tweet (shown below, center) received over 12,000 likes and 3,000 retweets in one year, with the photograph becoming viral. On April 19th, 2019, Twitter[6] user @unwrappedlolly created a thread about liminal spaces, with the first post in the thread gaining over 6,000 retweets and 13,100 likes (shown below, right).


River Cafferata @RiverCafferata Replying to @naturallie These are called "Liminal Spaces" and they make you feel weird because they're not meant to have time spent in them, but they're transitional spaces where things come before and after them 7:54 PM · May 21, 2018 · Twitter for iPhone dom ... @zerstoerer i'm on the way to america and i spent the night inside the most nightmarish and oppressive bit of architecture i've seen in a long while 7:43 AM · Mar 15, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone Khadija @unwrappedlolly ... Liminal Spaces : A thread Pernah nggak ada di suatu tempat atau situasi yang rasanya nggak 'nyata'? Di mana rasanya realita agak "geser" dan kadang kita merasa ga nyaman atau pengen cepet pergi? Mungkin kita lagi berada di yang namanya "liminal space" atau ruang liminal. 1:05 AM · Apr 19, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone

Spread

On August 14th, 2019, Redditor CaLaHa717 launched the /r/LiminalSpace[7] subreddit, posting several photographs of such spaces on the same day. The subreddit grew to become the largest hub of collecting such images online, growing to over 200,000 users as of May 2021 (example images shown below).


DÉJÀ VU AREA THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME HERE. IF THIS PLATFORM FEELS FAMILIAR, IMMEDIATELY ALERT AN MTA EMPLOYEE. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

In April 2020, several collections of photographs of liminal spaces went viral, with the term gaining widespread recognition. On April 1st, 2020, subreddit /r/Weirdlyfamiliar[8] was created, gaining over 4,300 subscribers in one year. Starting on April 3rd, Tumblr[9] user phoebelila posted several collections, with their first post gaining over 23,200 likes and reblogs in one year. On April 9th, 2020, subreddit /r/LimilalReality[10] was launched, with over 14,600 members joining in one year.

On April 13th, 2020, Tumblr[11] user rottingdaydreams posted a collection that gained over 20,100 likes and reblogs. On April 15th, 2020, YouTuber[12] float posted a compilation video set to dark ambient music, which received over two million views (shown below).



On June 6th, 2020, Twitter[13] account Images with Elegiac Auras (@elegiac_images), inspired by the March 15th, 2019, tweet by @zerstoerer,[4] was launched, gaining over 120,000 followers in two months. After the account's suspension in November 2020, another account @elegiacimages[14] was created, gaining over 13,000 followers in seven months.

On August 1st, 2020, bot Twitter[15] account Liminal Spaces (@SpaceLiminalBot) was created, sharing images from the /r/LiminalSpace subreddit. The account received viral popularity on Twitter, gaining nearly 180,000 followers in 10 months.

On TikTok, posts with the hashtag "#liminalspace" had amassed over 16.6 million views as of May 11th, 2021.[16]

Various Examples


00 NAAAAAAAR THE END Places where reality seems altered gaudinator Schools at night Leaving the movie theater late Empty beaches early in the morning Traffic lights when there are no cars around late at night হ
8 7. 137

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 4 total

Recent Images 83 total


Top Comments

BulletproofBrony, Not Dead Melia
BulletproofBrony, Not Dead Melia

in reply to Therz

I've never had any of these images trigger any sort of response from me, never mind feelings of familiarity.

I get the "dreamlike" quality, insofar as dreams manipulate space and time in ways that seem normal when you're in them but unusual when you're out of them.

But even then, the images mostly just come across to me as empty, abandoned, and often poorly lit rather than as something that gives me any sense that I've been there.

+4

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