After our first year project deadline, we were launched another project called the reading and making project. This project takes us more on a self directed journey that involves self motivated group discussions and a more self directed pathway.
From the books that we have to select from I chose to look at The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and in particular the chapter House and Universe and the chapter Shells.
The chapter House and Universe talks about the notion of homes and houses, seasons, childhood and dreams and how they all link together. It was very broad and did have the tendency to move from topic to topic randomly and quickly. I did however find it interesting how it talked about different peoples notions of home and in particular their “dream home”. It was fascinating to see how far it differed from one person to another. I felt I could relate to one phrase in this chapter and I found it intriguing, it is from William Goyen’s book House of Breath and has been quoted by Bachelard: “That people could come into the world, a place they could not at first even name and had never known before; and out of a nameless and unknown place they could grow and move around in it until its name they knew and called with love and call it HOME…” (Bachelard, 1969, pg 58 and Goyen, 1950 pg 40)
The chapter on shells was more the discovery of a certain habitat. I discovered the creatures that inhabit shells and how that to them is there home, babies of any animal who is not a mammal is born from an egg: it is therefore their first home. Life can both start and continue in a shell, a protective covering that shelters from danger. It made me realise how significant the shell is.
Although I found the book really challenging to read, I actually discovered it to be interesting and resourceful. The main theme I took from this book was places of habitation and the notion of the word home. This theme will be the starting point for my project. I also came across a quote which really caught my eye, it seems simplistic among all the complicated physiological terms and phrasing: “Snails build a little house which they can carry about with them, so, they are always at home in whichever country they travel. ” (Bachelard, 1969, pg 121) This quote touched me and I thought it had a rather childlike but real aspect to it. It also made me think about how shell are homes to some animals such as snails and turtles, and linked me back to the first chapter on homes.
Bachelard, G, The Poetics of Space, 1969, Beacon Press, Boston
Goyen, W, House of Breath, 1950, Random House, New York