Over the last week I have taken the opportunity to enhance my learning by reading two books. The first book is The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher.
In the book Bachelard discusses different kinds of places and spaces in everyday life. He breaks them down considering each one no matter how small or unnoticeable. Bachelard understands space in a way different than other authors I have read, he contests his own ideas and describes to make something vernacular so much greater. He examines and recognises each space and breaks up his thoughts by taking examples of other writings from poets and authors on the same subjects.
So why do I feel he is so essential when looking at my own work. At the moment I am study space and in particular domestic space where someone resides. Each element of my design is simple and something we as a viewer could experience in our day to day lives. Bachelard states in his book that we read a room or a house for it to make sense. This is something he has in common with Chaimowicz who also stated that rooms have an important place in the autobiographical realm creating a picture of life and showing us how a certain life took a certain path.
Another point I picked up on in Bachelard’s book is one of his extracts. In the chapter House and Universe he quotes Annie Duthil “Who has not deep in his heart, A dark castle of Elsinore”. This links me back into the idea of consumerism. Even though this book was written in 1958, there is still this concept of dreaming for more. Who does not dream in his heart for a castle. I feel this could link to another section of the book where Bachelard talks about people living in “superimposed boxes” in Paris. He goes on to quote Paul Claudel who calls these boxes “conventional holes”. Even in the 1958 Paris there was the beginning of people flocking to the big cities and therefore the concept of there not being enough space to fill the flux of people.
This comment reminds me somewhat of Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard where he discusses the idea of hyper-market and hyper commodity as the redistribution and centralisation of a population. This for me means the people flocking to the cities which interests me in Bachelard’s book as I feel this phenomenon is taking shape however he prefers to concentrate on the insides and the formation of space rather than the outside world. To him I think paying attention to things that start to be surpassed is a key part of why he has written his book.
Even though The Poetics of Space is a difficult read it brings into play many of the ideas that I aim to explore within my piece. I am glad it has enhanced my thinking around why I am actually creating what I am creating and why it is so important to me. The ideas I want to understand and study seem to be rooted somewhat in the post war culture. It has taken me reading this book to fully comprehend the nature of my exploration.
Simulacra and Stimulation, Baudrillard J, 1994, The University of Michigan Press
The Poetics of Space, Bachelard G, 1958, Presses Universitaires de France