Re-engaging the physical within liminal landscapes

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We live suspended between the digital and the physical, in a liminal space. The pioneers of digital landscapes we navigate realms unfettered by physical constraint, where stories can construct and reconstruct themselves at will, where time is not just static but can be reversed, where truth can be rewritten and history revised. Orientation increasingly turns to an expanding mirror world, the echo of Borges fiction. A 1:1 remaking of the world where huge ships hide within the folds of fake signals, infrastructure is analysed through its digital twin, and non-existent islands rise into being, leading very real expeditions to search for them.

It can begin to paint a picture of a digitized retreat into our imaginaries. With the dominant imaginary of the global north on course to decimate the conditions that both we and our fellow critters need for survival, this may feel like setting our course for a dystopian future. Yet our liminal landscapes equally hold the potential to deepen our embodiment within the physical realm, enhancing our understanding of our relationality and challenging corrosive anthropocentric perspectives. Through designing spaces we dare to imagine might we begin to construct the future we need; “a future with a future” as Tony Fry succinctly puts it?

Students at Oxford Brookes University, University of Brighton, and the Bartlett School of Architecture explored this territory, teasing out opportunities and unveiling potential futures. Might we begin to see beyond our limited anthropocentric perception? Might we extend our understanding of our histories? Could we begin to draw the digital back to its hidden corporeal foundations? Within this liminal realm might we pioneer new routes towards a sustainable future in real life; IRL ?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalUOU Scientific Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2023


  • Digital ecosystems
  • liminality
  • design
  • Architecture
  • Artificial intelligence


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