Image: Mena El Shazly

Issue Twelve: Thresholds

Comparative Media Arts Journal Editorial Team


What kind of threshold are you standing on?  

Is it a threshold between grief and healing? Between apocalypse and revolution? Between the nostalgia for lost futures and the exasperation of staying afloat in the present? This state of passage yet anticipation feels at once accelerated yet immobilizing – a liminality sculpted by systems that appear beyond our control.

What do we mean by threshold? Perhaps the threshold can be thought in many senses. It expresses both a limit and an opening, both possibilities and the foreclosure of opportunities. It might be thought at one moment as a threshold of action. At what point does the scale tip, or the pendulum swing; at what point does the tide of forces give over to a movement. The artists and writers who have contributed to this issue have begun to answer and explore these questions through different media and modes of thinking and point to modes of resistance and reshaping which either take us from one space to another, or invite us to rest in liminality.

Perhaps, we might also think of the threshold as the limit, or as the horizon. Each zone or realm of thought has its own particular limits. You may grow tired of a particular idea or practice, feel as though you've exhausted all its uses. You might go in search of new ideas, new practices.  We see this in the hopeful and inventive reshaping of existing technologies in Chris Carruth’s work, the exploration of new sonic landscapes in Kittie Cooper’s composition, and more.

Reaching those limits can be exhilarating. It can also be exhausting, like the limit we feel on our bodies and the body of the earth, threatening to turn both into non-places between flourishing and extinction. We can feel this too in the mycelia of the non-fungible, the crypto-melting of all that once felt solid. We can feel it in the collapse of time in old-growth devastation at the Fairy Creek blockade, in the frontlines of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, and in the imperialist thresholds of vaccine diplomacy. Where else does the future live? How can we heal while being haunted? What does it look like to plant our feet in the ground and make a place of our struggle?