About liminal spaces and backrooms [not horror]

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.

Famous one is the pool one.

And I was wondering why I didn’t feel any way about it. I have since, on and off, stumbled across videos about the origins of the backrooms or liminal spaces.

I realized why.

I’ve lived in Japan my entire life and all the photos are in the states (or, at least, not Japan).

That’s why I don’t find it nostalgic or familiar.

I haven’t lived there long enough to feel that way.

So, maybe, I would feel that way with liminal spaces photos in Japan.

That’s what I thought.

  • Do you know about liminal spaces or the backrooms? What are your thoughts on them?

  • Do you know about the non-horrific versions of those?

  • Do you feel any particular way when looking at them? And why do you think you feel that way?

  • Any favorite liminal spaces or backrooms photos you want to share? (maybe non-creepy ones because there might be people in here who do not want to see horrifying things)

And any other thoughts on these?


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.


You might want to read this



You want to feel this one?

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.


If you want to feel really scared, what happens if you slip and fall in a place like this?


There’s a place to reach and be breached like a whale. Im not as worried.


I love photos of abandoned places! It doesn’t have to be Japan :stuck_out_tongue:


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 :sparkles: sociologist :sparkles: 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.


Honestly looks like the water was edited in. Maybe even that dark square :stuck_out_tongue:


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.


It was an edited photo but it looks like a snapshot from a dream.

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Why do you think it looks like a snapshot from a dream?

A lot of people say this, but I can’t really understand… do you guys have dreams of empty pools? :stuck_out_tongue:

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It’s a mix of memory and unreality. Trust me, my dreams are pretty weird.

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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.


One time I had a dream where Ryan Gosling sang this in a movie:

But then you compare this to his sining in La La Land and you can see why it haunts me so much


I see, yeah, that would be horrifying.