Some time ago, I think it was… @NotARussianBot brought up the backrooms when I created a “do you like horror movies” thread or I commented on a thread like that. Can’t remember which.
And I remember I never had heard about it prior. I didn’t know what the backrooms were. Or liminal spaces. So, I go to the link, right, and I don’t feel any particular way. Maybe some of the horror ones are unsettling, but that was it. I guess you’re supposed to feel a strange sense of nostalgia, as if you had been there before, sometimes coupled with a bit of horror.
Pools have a very defined aesthetic. I saw that Thalasso Hobbyer made two seperate pool rooms diagrams.
I remember seeing a compliation focused on Russia and other Eastern Block countries. You might want to go searching for a compilation yourself, or failing that, get a camera and go to some strange, abandoned location at an odd hour.
First Americans are uaed to wide open spaces, especially outside city centers.
Pools with walls like that? You cant get out of them.
Narrowing pool with the wall and ceiling right there? Turns around a blind corner? What happens when the water rises? How do you get out? How dark is it going to get on there? If someone grabs you, what can you grab?
This thing is apparently a pile of outright safety violations.
And it’s going “underground”.
But these random curves are common ins staduims where pushed in like cattle or 70s built schools. A funnel to nowhere with wet feet.
I don’t dabble in internet aesthetics but I’ve heard about it. I think backrooms are a creepypasta thing? It’s interesting to me because I’m a sociologist and my research area is space and place-making.
The thing about liminal spaces is that it’s not a space at all. It’s technically a non-place, a site where humans remain anonymous and have no significant social, cultural or historical meaning. Something like a bus depot. Non-places, by design, alienates everyone and is constantly in transit.
That’s where liminality comes in. Liminality is basically a state of transition. The liminal has been widely used in gothic literature, like in-between worlds, and it’s probably one of the reasons why we associate it with fear and the uncanny. We tend to imagine what horrible thing would happen or what might be lurking around the corner.
The aesthetic is mostly grounded in western culture and the dread of modernity. These places are mostly modern and brutalist architecture, which tend to have a negative connotation. If you don’t have the cultural basis, then it probably means nothing.
I’ve obviously intellectualised it so I don’t feel any particular way about it. I liked Severance, which is a tv show about backrooms. And the House in Piranesi by Susanna Clarke had a liminal space quality about it.
I’ve watched a YouTube video explaining just what you said.
I find this interesting. Why is it people feel nostalgia or familiarity with transitional spaces? Wouldn’t you feel this way more in a end location because it’s filled with more memories? Because it’s not like we really remember the places of transition that we’ve been in.
Well I think it’s got more to do with aesthetics than liminality and non-places. In real life there’s almost no affinity to these sites.
On the internet, it reminds us of a lost age.The aesthetics are based in the later 20th century. And further, those pools and tiles in a grid for instance are reminiscent of early internet and computing. I’m the words of Vampire Weekend, we are just nostalgic for garbage apparently.