although i got a not-so-good grade from an art history class on roman imperialism two years ago, there’s a concept i learned about that i’ve never forgotten. why, i don’t know, but i just know i’m in love with the concept of liminality.
essentially, a point of transition. such as all the triumphal arches. doorways. windows. rivers. borders. train stations. places where we move through, but never actually stay – but in these points, we change. we become slightly different. you can never go through these spaces without coming something happening.
and for me, basel is a liminal city. above, on the left, the swiss SBB CFF FFS train. and on the right, the TGV from france. at the same spot, transporting people between different countries, cultures, and languages.
just a little over an hour by train from strasbourg, basel was a perfect daytrip for me. after all, the idea of being in a different country in less than two hours it never fails to amuse me, seeing as i could drive for nine hours in texas and still be in texas.
but. one word distracted me and destroyed any plans for contemporary art. paper.
paper museum. there’s no way i could resist. i love love paper, stationary, pens, communication, letters… and paper making museums are my weakness in life.
*official name = Swiss Museum for Paper, Writing and Printing / Schweizerisches Museum für Papier, Schrift und Druck also known as Basel Paper Mill / Basler Papiermühle
as usual, it was a pretty interactive museum. every paper related museum always covers how paper is made, but this museum offered something new in that it also covered printing, binding, and stamping techniques.
tons and tons of ancient presses here. also, i can’t stress enough how much i love museums where you’re encouraged to make things. like your own print. where you roll out the ink, coat the plate, and print. you learn so much more when you do instead of just looking.
but what i loved most was the map of the museum. not only was it planned out beautifully and different from any other museum map i’d seen before…. later on in my visit i saw the plates (?) that are used to print them. of course they’d print their own maps! love it when things are fait à la maison.
i also have a hard time resisting cultural history museums. yes, i know i said earlier i was tired of old stuff…. but i’m just tired of old paintings and old sculptures… not old toys, clocks, watches, clothings, living spaces, etc.
so off i went to Haus zum Kirschgarten, or the House to the Cherry garden, a museum dedicated to the daily life of swiss people in the past. *also i thought it was literally a garden full of cherries… but i did not just admit that.
*ps note the turquoise colored walls. love love love.
i’d also like to thank the people of basel for being so pedestrian friendly. every driver and biker yielded to me, even when they had the right of way. and they smiled and looked happy to let me cross. i just find it really funny that in my small french town my chances of getting hit by a car are much higher than a big international city like basel. but i suppose that’s the difference there… french. french drivers are in a class of their own. but i still love them.
and back on the topic of liminality…
i also love it so much right because that is exactly where i am. in between. finished uni, and not doing any “real” work expect exploring, eating, observing, making, talking… i’m transitioning, but i’m not sure where to – art, baking, languages…? only time will tell.
and, very soon, there’s that liminal point once a year when the clock strikes midnight and in a franction of a second you become a whole year older!