The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard’s “The Poetics of Space” (1958) is a phenomenological interrogation into the meaning of spaces which preoccupy poetry, intimate spaces such as a house, a drawer, a night dresser and spaces of wide expansion such as vistas and woods.  Bachelard holds a focus on the present experience while eliminating transient time.

The house is, for Bachelard, the quintessential phenomenological object, meaning that this is the place in which the personal experience reaches its epitome. Bachelard sees the house as a sort of initial universe, asserting that “all really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of home”(p.5). Bachelard proceeds to examine the home as the manifestation of the soul through the poetic image and literary images which are found in poetry. He examines locations in the house as places of intimacy and memory which are manifested in poetry.

In “The Poetics of Space” Bachelard introduces his concept of topoanalysis, which he defines as the systematic psychological studying of the sites of our intimate lives. The house, the most intimate of all spaces, “protects the daydreamer” and therefore understanding the house is for Bachelard a way to understand the soul.

I have been playing with the idea of psychogeographic drawing in this little animation exploring the picture plane of one of my drawings of an interior building space: