In my project Liminal minds, I invite the viewer to encounter controversial and marginalized historical figures in their transgressive states of mind. I see them as futurists from the past who were considered by their contemporaries to be dissidents, heretics and madmen – liminal minds who succeeded to break through deep rooted knowledge. One of them was French anthropologist and surrealist writer Michel Leiris (1901-1990), whose account was central for the shift from a colonial to a postcolonial mindset. As a young writer, Leiris was asked to join the most expansive and expensive French colonial expedition, the Dakar Djibouti mission (1931-1933). There, facing the horrors of colonialism, yet, not knowing how to position his observations in the political and intellectual context of the times, he went through a transformative phase saturated with nightmares, psychoses and fantasies, which he documented in his writings.
Combining research, creative writing, photography, installation, and video, I dive into this most ambivalent space of Leiris’ psyche. I explore its transformative potential and speak through his voice while disseminating my own. In Liminal minds, historical material is merged with fiction as well as with my own autobiographical testimonies and imagery. Working against the faith in authentic creativity and originality, I welcome Leiris in my journeys as he welcomes me in his, and so the personal intimacy with history can emerge, blurring and transgressing the border between me and historical characters.
The concept of liminality was first introduced by Arnold van Gennep in Rites de Passage in 1909. There, he observed the rites of passage or transformative rituals of social life (such as weddings, funerals, initiation rites, etc.). Liminality was described as the psychic and emotional state in-between one social status and another, in a state of ambiguity, disorientation and loss of fixed identity.
In my research, I adopt the concept of liminality not in the classical anthropological sense but rather in a personal sense. I am interested in personal journeys, often secret transitions and transgressions, usually accompanied by dreams and visions placing persons outside of the society, alienating and excluding them. Yet, I believe liminality to be the state of creativity and I am interested in its transformative potential.
is an artist working in the intersection of contemporary art, performance, artistic research, literature, and anthropology. Her recent solo shows were opened at Kunsthal Gent (The Strongest Muscle in the Human Body is the Tongue 2021), Centre Tour à Plomb in Brussels (Architecture of Heaven 2020), Konstepidemin in Gothenburg (Liminal Minds 2019) and RawArt Gallery in Tel Aviv (Legal Implications of a Dream 2018). In 2020 she published her first book of fiction Schismatics (LAPAS books). In 2019 she received The Golden Stage Cross and the Young Artist’s Prize. Palekaitė holds a BFA in fine arts, MA in social and cultural anthropology, Post-Master in artistic research and currently is a Ph.D. candidate at Hasselt University and PXL-MAD School of Arts.