Read : The Poetics of Space

The Poetics of Space is a 1958 non-fiction philosophical study of inhabited space from French philosopher Gaston Bachelard who became influenced by forms Constructivist epistemology and relationships between science and pyschoanalysis. Following a phenomenological examination of the poetic representations of the house and space, drawn together is a direct metaphor between the interior and exterior sense of soul and physicality formed within poetry. The work explores shared feelings invoked with places and images of a specific space or environment and how this is intrinsically linked to humanistic feelings of nostalgia, yearning, imagination and the mind. Bachelard plays with an interrelationship between science and poetry, experiment and experience. Despite being a reflection on literaturical poetics of dwelling and subjectivity of the soul, the topoanalysis extends into the reality of environments and places that we live in and between that can be influenced into an interdisciplinary exploration, including art, imagination education and experience. Drawn from direct experience and emotion of lived spaces and the subsequent reflections from both personal notions and literary cues to combine multiple layers of psychoanalytic theory and an enlightenment approach to architecture.

For my research and development, the poignant prose of this theory is on the influence between spacial environment and the direct relationship towards imagination and nurturing the sense of experience and exploration from that. The suggestion that space does not necessarily provide just a physical entity but a change of reflective elements, specifically becoming aware of the mindset shift that can occur by offering or opening a specific space to others and how this can influence interior exploration from an exterior cue. Therefore this leads me to explore how you can cultivate and form spacial changes and how this leads to individual change, in form of mental exploration and personal impact on the hierarchy of needs, in terms of physical, social and safety. What environment would be the most reflective to offer for sense of safety, trust and creative inspiration?

Bachelard, Gaston. 2014. The Poetics of Space. Penguin Classics.

Introduction :

Pg xvi : philosophical reasoning : poetic imagination - causal

xvii : “The poet does not confer the past of his image upon me, and yet his image immediately takes root in me” - intrinsic

xviii : “poetic image - emerges into the consciousness as a direct product of the heart, soul and being of man, apprehended in his actuality”

creative consciousness - fleeting product of consciousness, naive expression poetic image becomes phenomenological unity of sentimentality

Soul is immortal word - poetic pleasure calms and relaxes “a flicker of soul is all that is needed” - emergence of linguistic impulses - creation

xxiii : “a image given to one another in spoken form” - expression becomes being

xxxi : poetry is creation and newness from phenomenology, philosophy & psychoanalysis - artists creates the way they live

xxxv : humanity is through imagination : giving felicitous space to determine presence - inhabitation in phenomenology, usually intimate

“we have in ourselves an entire assortment of images of and recollections that we would not readily disclose … psychoanalyst … systemise these images of comforting retreat, could furnish numerous documents”

The House.

From cellar to garret.

The significance of the hut :

pg 3 : House ; privileged entity for intimate inside space - a place to find shelter / protected intimacy

pg 4 : “attachment to the primary function of inhabiting”

“how we take root, day after day, in a corner of the world” - comfort in illusion of protection

Pg 5 : community of memory and image : day to day living & on thread of a narrative

“House shelters daydreaming”

Pg 7 : life begins enclosed, protected

Pg 10 : “all the spaces of our past moments of solitude” - creative space / retreats

daydream itself “confined moments and experiences of heartwarming space

Psychoanalysis asks an individual to come out of the unconscious into experience

exterior destiny to the interior being Roads of experience - “thus we cover the universe with drawings we have lived”

reading/writing a room - a place in the past - “the values of intimacy are so absorbing that the reader has ceased to read your room : he sees his own again”

nooks and corners, resting place for daydreams

Pg 26 : poetic daydreams - creates symbols and confirms our intimate moments into activity that is poly-symbolic

you can be anything in a room and dreams - bed and sailboats amongst a storm

Pg 30 : we must discover primitive refuge - positive recollections influencing psychology

“the house itself, in the family sitting-room, a dreamer of refuges of a hut, of a nest, or of nooks and corners in which he would to like to hide away, like a animal in it’s hole” - beyond human images

Pg 33 - simplicity of primitiveness and the comfort of childhood protection and unaware expressions of self allowing phenomenology of imagination

- solitary light

Pg 35 : “ the houses of men form earthly constellations”

“hypnotised by the gaze of the solitary house”

House and universe :

pg 41 : “diminished entity of the outside world, experiences all the qualities of intimacy with increased intensity” - negatives and positives - is there more within or outside?

pg 43 - 45 : juxtaposed elements of house and space - dynamic diabetics, humanity of houses - mother image, protection, simplicity and nostalgia alternating between security and adventure

Pg 46 : protection, resistance and refuge virtues of a house mirror human qualities

Pg 57 : old houses “Why did we not prolong those fleeting hours?” - intimacy of inner life, recollection of a relationship with dreams and oneself - a sense of remorse for profound past living and overwhelming nostalgia

Pg 58 : "our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality.” - daydreams and childhood houses , yearning

‘out of a nameless and unknown place they could grow and move around in it until it's name they knew and called with love, and call it home, and put roots there and love others there;” - giving a value of happiness, questioning the reality of recollection

Exchanging functions of imagination, memory and perception - vulnerable

Pg 64 : ultimate degree of metaphor, chrysalis and space - "intimacy needs the heart of a nest”

Pg 66 : one moment of dwelling, a nurtured image

Pg 73 : “the house is a psychic state” - studies by psychologist Francoise Minkowska

Drawers, chests and wardrobes

Pg 74 : Image vs metaphor - compartmented idea of drawers, “hiding places in which human beings, great dreamers of locks, keep or hide their secrets” - imagination is metaphorical and the subsequent phenomenological value creates a fabricated image

Pg 78 : images of secrecy and the philosophy of having - daydreams of intimacy

“secret psychological life” created via objects - intimate spaces and protector of order/disorder

Pg 81 : locks, boxes, complex intuitive sense of privacy and “need for secrecy”

Pg 84 : “the poet lives a daydream that is awake, but above all, his daydream remains in the world, facing worldly things. It gathers the universe together around and in an object.” Immemorial recollections - dialectics of inside/outside

Pg 88 : to imagine is more enriching than to experience or verify images - hider of things / hider or self

Nests :

Pg 90 : (I found a nest in the skeleton of the ivy

A soft nest of country moss and dream herb.) - Ed. Seghers

Cathedral : egg, nest, house, country and universe - snail and shell, home, his hole, his envelope

Pg 91 : Primitive refuge - lies snug & concealed, withdraw into his corner

Pg 92 : “Already, in the world of inanimate objects, extraordinary significance is attach to nests.” - instincts of animal life, building for oneself

Pg 93 : “little nest” - lost in the foliage, eggs and warm good home

“today when we discover a nest it takes us back to our childhood or, rather, to a childhood; to the childhoods we should have had. For not many of us have been endowed by life with the full measure of its cosmic implications”

Pg 94 : old nest - category of objects

Living nest - phenomenology

Pg 96 : “It is as when a family, your neighbours, return to an empty house after a long absence, and you hear the cheerful hum of voices and the laughter of children, and see the smoke from the kitchen fire. The doors are thrown open, and children go screaming through the hall. So the flicker dashes through the aisles of the grove, throws up a window here and cackles out it, and then there, airing the house. It makes it’s voice ring up-stairs and down-stairs, and as, as it were, fits it for its habitation and ours, and takes possession.” Fernand Lequenne, Plants sauvages

metaphor of house and nest

Pg 97 : “a tree becomes a nest the moment a great dreamer hides in it”

Pg 99 : simplicity of home, coming back, return : “that human returning takes place in the great rhythm of human life” - harmonic reading

Pg 100 : “the calm nest and the old home, weave the sturdy web of intimacy on the dream loom” - memories and dreams, lost intimacy"

Pg 101 : house built by and for the body - nests in made from the inside - circular form of hollowing & daydreaming of security, reclusion from hostility

Pg 104 : “When a philosopher considers a nest, he calms himself by meditating on the subject of his own being in the calm world being”

“building and moulding the worlds clay about our own shelters’

Shells :

Pg 129 : ‘natural’ fortress of a retreat - spiral movement

Pg 131 : “shell confers a daydream of purely physical intimacy” - twists, humps, touch, spiral house interior of a cave and cavities - underground subterranean life

Pg 132 : “whenever life seeks to shelter, protect, cover or hide itself, the imagination sympathises with the being that inhabits the protected space” - inmitation of surfaces, safety under cover

Corners :

Pg 136 : lived in corner - reject, restrain or hide life “negation of the Universe” with the silence of our thoughts

Is retreat a haven? Corners signal immobility & motionlessness - barriers and lines

Pg 140 : two geometrical unrealities - critical minds and idle musings (Inability to create?) - a trap


Pg 150 : “Representation is dominated by Imagination. Representation becomes nothing but a body of expressions with which to communicate our own images to others.” - go beyond logic in order to experience what is large in what is small

Inverses perspectives on profound values

Pg 154 : “liberation from obligations of dimensions”

Pg 155 : Magnifying glass - “we have to accept unnoticed detail, and dominate it” - fresh eyes and enlarging gaze of a child

“Minuscule, a narrow gate, opens up an entire world. The details of a thing can be the sign of a new world which, like all worlds, contains attributes of greatness.”

Pg 157 : “large is contained in small” - deploys dimensions of the universe

Pg 159 : “All small things must evolve slowly” - peace to miniaturise the world

“Take time needed to see all the things that cannot be seen all together” - detachment from the surrounding world & resist dissolution of the atmosphere

Pg 161 : metaphysical freshness - relaxes in small space - pauses in narrative to daydream

Pg 164 : “mere tininess paves the way for everything that happens” - dialectics of wonder & jest - keeps from the world becoming motionless

Pg 172 : “distant … disparate things become reconciled” extending values

Pg 174 : “causality of smallness” - stirs senses & creates an entire environment within imagination - goes beyond perception, organically and objectively

Intimate Immensity

Pg 183 : immensity - philosophical categories of daydream - grandeur & transports through contemplation (infinity)

Ancestral knowledge of history & archetypes

Pg 192 : "exterior spectacle helps intimate grandeur unfold”

discursive ventures of the mind, and powers of the spirit

Pg 202 : Rilke “Through every human being, unique space, intimate space, opens up to the world.”

subject to open up or to grow, no greater value than intimacy

To dream - open up intimate space and “expansion of infinite things”

Pg 206 : “By changing space, by leaving the space of one’s own sensibilities, one enters into communication with a space that is psychically innovating” - “for if we do not change place, we change our nature” - psychological expansion for “here” imprisionment

Further Research : experientially lying within environments, such as within a bush, on sand, etc; interior decor focus through employment and building a visual imagery of my "poetic space"

Lottie Matthews © 2020
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