brief snippets written on a plane:
summary: Bachelard's entire book (the poetics of space) is based upon a phenomenological exploration of the image, as he argues that the image (born of the imagination) is neither an internally consistent metaphor or even psychologically or psychoanalytically explainable in terms of a causal relationship. The image is a pure signifier without a signified, in a sense. His idea is that any analyzing of the image must take place out of current forms of philosophical thought and must instead involve the soul, in a poetic form of exploration.
Bachelard talks about resonances and reverberations, which I take to be sort of 'appreciated similarities' and 'induced reactions'. At many points, he says that the poem exists on the basis of the image, which has no causal psychological basis but rather a timeless (aka eternal and instantaneous) image born of the imagination. Moreover, in the process of reading poetry and receiving these images, the act of creation is also induced in the reader, "taking root" in the reader.
I agree with his ideas so far. Although -- the poetry examples he uses are always full of pastoral nostalgia, especially focused on nature and the country house, et cetera. Written nearly 40 years ago, his views on the city are still modern and not post-modern; the house with a cellar and attic is the archetypal house, and his parallels between the personal psyche (that is, a psyche only phenomenologically represented by the image) and the ideal house are a little too localized and culture-specific (specifically French?) for my tastes. He does talk about the image of the apartment briefly, but rejects it in favor of the house. Are lifetime apartment-dwellers doomed to merely possess images of a house born of media and language, the shared image of the consciousness?
Like the Zadie Smith quote I always like to refer to, Bachelard talks about the viewer taking part in the appreciation process, the viewer's reading is also the process of reading:
"And this is true of a simple experience of reading. The image offered us by reading the poem now becomes really our own. It takes root in us. It has been given us by another, but we begin to have the impression that we could have created it, that we should have created it. It becomes a new being in our language..."
Thought: what many pieces of new media art seem to miss is the coherence of an image; while creating intellectual connections between ideas and expressing them, the creators lose sight of the image of the soul, and as an essence their pieces become visual essays with little magnetism, little resonance. Visually aesthetic, but not spiritually so. (maybe this can be attributed to the usually non-traditional, less art-school approach of the artist?)
so perhaps:: similarly, the appreciation of art is initially an instinctive and unconscious phenomenological one (the process of "taking root"), that is able to be deepened and more fleshed out by a contextual and intellectual analysis. The appreciation of design is really a contextual and intellectual one, really based on aesthetics all around: an aesthetic appreciation of appearance, usage, intellectuality. (Example: when a typeface matches the text in terms of historical/nationality background.) Although art history exists as a retrospective, historical, and contextual analysis of art, the process of art-historical analysis is a psychological/psychoanalytical analysis of art (as if the world and its artists were a single Geist-like consciousness), whereas the process undergone when viewing art, and creating art inspired by art is really a phenomenological analysis undergone semi-consciously.
Really, Richard Tuttle is only half-right in a sense in that you have to "bring everything to the table" to look at art: that 'bringing everything' is for a viewing of art that combines both a soulful and intellectual, art and art-historical view of art...
Really, what I want to say is that the image is immediate, pervasive, intrusive, memetic, seed-like, and because of those qualities, it is important in poetry, literature, art, and everything else. This is what I have learned from The Poetics of Space.