A Thin Place
2013, Sep - Oct
Juliana Cerqueira Leite
A Thin Place is an experimental exhibition space exploring the idea of a "Thin Place," a setting whereupon the boundaries between a physical space and an intangible higher plane become so close they are difficult to distinguish. A thin place is the tipping point, the limen, between what is real and what is perceived.
The exhibition features rotating installations,video, sound and regular performances. A series of dinners and salons will also be hosted in the space throughout the month, furthering the discussion of the idea of a thin place.
A Thin Place is a situation whereupon the boundaries between a physical space and an intangible higher plane become so close they are difficult to distinguish; a thin place is the tipping point, the limen, between what is real and what is perceived.
A thin place can be –and is most offered referred to– as a specific geographic setting, and some places are more susceptible to being "thin" than others. Traditionally, thin places have been written about as "holy places", a place where the boundary between heaven and earth is thinner than others. However, time and space are relative; although one might experience a thin place in one space at one time, they might not access the "thin place" always. In terms of geography, a thin place can be a relatively well known and charged place such as the Kaaba, Stonehenge, or Machu Picchu, and it can also be a more transient place such as a airport cocktail lounge or a specific library or another place firmly routed in one's own nostalgia.
Alternatively, a thin place can exist chemically in the brain. When asleep and in REM mode (dreaming), one might wake in the middle of the night with a terrible and/or exhilarating feeling. This can either be experienced as anxiety or exaltation. More dramatically, there are moments where one can actually feel the left and the right side of the brain splitting apart, or rather fusing together.
A thin place heightens the senses. A thin place is an odd place to be, it is pleasantly uncomfortable, and strangely perfect. When you're in a thin place, you don't want to be anywhere else, however the moment is fleeting.
This moment, a "thin place," can be accessed by varied means and for some this place is found more easily than for others. This could be due to personal sensitivity and knowledge regarding the occurrence, or due to actual frequency of access (regarding time and space, or rather, relativity). This dilemma between sensitivity and frequency is comparable to one's relationship with the more commonly discussed psychological phenomena: Deja Vu.
A thin place can be accessed by different means and is usually natural, and dependent on the person involved, their character and intellectual outlook, and especially their own relationship with spirituality. A thin place can also be accessed superficially, and most often, through the use of psychedelic or psychotropic drugs. It can also be activated through certain challenging intellectual situations, highly stimulating spiritual ceremonies, or perfectly timed emotional or instinctual (survival) reactions. A thin place can be found both internally and externally. It can be accessed in a temple or church, while getting high, while jogging, on a plane, through lovemaking, in a library, underwater, or right when waking up from a dream.
The thin place is not definitively physical space, or a geographic place, nor is it definitively a chemical or spiritual concept. A thin place lays wherein what is real and what is perceived, what is external and what is internal and how one subjectively reconciles the two.
Image: Installation view (with Michael Mahalchick, Brook Hsu, Sarah Kurten, Sofi Brazzeal, Michel Auder, Nicolas Guagnini, and Dawn Kasper) of The Split, GRIN, Providence, RI, 2017