Bachelard describes space as a spiritual center which is connected to human emotion. This is made possible through the element of time which links all ideas that humans have and the ways they choose to explore them.
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Space is infinite and shapes our emotional, spiritual and mental deduction regarding what surrounds us. The experiences that people have vary depending on the spaces in which they are located.
Their inner influences are driven by the nature of their interactions within spaces where they are located.1
Physical space stimulates emotional reactions from those that inhabit it. Spaces create relationships with those who inhabit them.
Bachelard argues that space encourages a deeper individual reflection in people who inhabit it. People exchange their mutual instincts and reactions based on their modes of interaction.
Bachelard manages to counter the notion that space is empty and only made lively by the actions of human beings. He manages to open up a new way of thinking that is not restricted by unnecessary boundaries.
Space is infinite and the boundaries that humans classify space with are only physical. The attributes of space as identified by an object being in or out are fictitious. Humans have made the house be the embodiment of security, safety and belonging.2
Bachelard objects to this rationale because it does not look at the interconnections between humans and spaces which they inhabit.
Bachelard describes inhabitation as humans’ dependence on space and as such there is an intimate connection that exists between them and their houses.
Bachelard changes the perceived view that the inside space is the only place where humans are comfortable. Bachelard argues that a door cannot completely isolate a space.
It only serves as an opening to a space where humans get different experiences from time to time. The modes of interaction between humans inside or outside a building do not change. He uses the beach at Bondi to advance his argument that humans do not have to be contained indoors for them to be intimate.
He reveals the free spirit that exists in humans and their ability to socialize in any environment they find themselves in. Bondi beach has strong waves and its waters are infested by deadly sharks but people still dive in for a swim.3
The notion that people only look for enclosed spaces to experience emotional thrill is disproved by Bachelard’s findings.
His observations at the beach reveal the different moods that can be experienced by different people depending on time. The space around the beach rouses different reactions and emotions in people both individually and collectively.
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The passing of time is not observed by many within this space because of the intrinsic value of its surroundings which people that visit get to enjoy. This space stimulates the mind better and this offers the people that visit the beach a chance to unwind.
The interaction between the beach and the people that visit it is relational. Every visit offers a different kind of experience to the visitor. Humans’ interactions with space open up many possibilities which make them transition from the present to the future effortlessly.4
Bachelard manages to bring out the connections that exist between objects and the spaces which they inhabit. The infinite nature of space offers both exclusion and inclusion of all objects that inhabit it.
Lecture slides, ‘Arts 1871: week 11’, The Immemorial, 2012, pp. 1-12.
Game, A & A Metcalfe, ‘My corner of the world: Bachelard and Bondi beach’, Emotion Space and Society, 2010, pp. 1-9.
1 A Game & A Metcalfe, ‘My corner of the world: Bachelard and Bondi Beach’, Emotion Space and Society, 2010, pp. 1-3.
2 Ibid., pp. 4-6.
3 Lecture Slides, ‘Arts 1871: week 11’, The Immemorial, 2012, p. 9.
4 Ibid., p. 9.