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How to read a book? How to write a text? How many pages, how many words, and how many symbols do we need? What is authorship? An experiment in writing, a text, written by typing underlined passages of The poetics of Space, chapter 7, in chronological order.


From the interior he discovers interior beauty. Here we have an inversion of perspective, which is either fleeting or captivating, according to the talent of the narrator, or the reader’s capacity for dream. Representation becomes nothing but a body of expressions with which to communicate our own images to others. One must go beyond logic in order to experience what is large in what is small.
In this text, nothing stands out, but everything is imagined, and the imaginary miniature is proposed to enclose an imaginary value. In such imagination as this, there exists total inversion as regards the spirit of observation. In the presence of an image that dreams, it must be taken as an invitation to continue the daydream that created it. The imagination is never wrong, since it does not have to confront an image with an objective reality. Indeed, there is a sort of innate optimism in all works of the imagination. Gérard de Nerval wrote, in Aurélia (p. 41): ‘’I believe that the human imagination never invented anything that was not true, in this world or any other.’’ When we have experienced an image like the planetary image of Cyrano’s apple, we understand that it was not prepared by thought.
The magnifying glass in this experience conditions an entry into the world. A philosopher often describes his ‘’entry to the world,’’ his ‘’being in the world,’’ using a familiar object as symbol. The man with the magnifying glass – quite simply – bars the everyday world. He is a fresh eye before a new object. The botanist’s magnifying glass is youth recaptured. It gives him back the enlarging gaze of a child.
Because every universe is enclosed in curves, every universe is concentrated in a nucleus, a spore, a dynamized center. And this center is powerful, because it is an imagined center. One step further into the world of images offered us by Pieyre de Mandiargues, and we see the center that imagines; then we can read the landscape in the glass nucleus. We no longer look at it while looking through it. This nucleizing nucleus is a world in itself. The miniature deploys to the dimensions of a universe. Once more, large is contained in small. To use a magnifying glass is to pay attention, but isn’t paying attention already having a magnifying glass? For with an ‘’exaggerated’’ image we are sure to be in the direct line of an autonomous imagination.
Unfortunately, being, as I am, a philosopher who plies his trade at home, I haven’t the advantage of actually seeing the works of the miniaturists of the Middle Ages, which was the great age of solitary patience. But I can well imagine this patience, which brings peace to one’s fingers. Indeed, we have only to imagine it for our souls to be bathed in peace. ‘’Take the time needed to see all these little things that cannot be seen all together.’’ In looking at a miniature, unflagging attention is required o integrate all the detail. Miniature is an exercise that has metaphysical freshness; it allows us to be world conscious at slight risk. This is one of the many daydreams that take us out of this world into another, and the novelist needed it to transport us into the region beyond the world that is the world of new love. People who ware hurried by the affairs of men will not enter there. They are very pure, since they have no use.  The imagination does not function with the same conviction in both directions.
Poucet climbed into the horse’s ear in order to speak soflty, that is to say, to command loudly, with a voice that none could hear except he who should ‘’listen’’. Here the world ‘’listen’’ takes on the double meaning of to hear and to obey.
IN order to receive directly the virtue of an isolated image – and an image in isolation has all its virtue – phenomenology now seems to me to be more favorable than psychoanalysis, for the precise reason that phenomenology requires us to assume this image ourselves, uncritically and with enthusiasm.
The man, the woman, the children
at the aerial table
resting on a miracle
that seeks its definition.
Upper light, being the principle of centrality, is a very important value in the hierarchy of images. For the imagination, therefore, the world gravitates about a value. The familiar world assumes the new relief or a dazzling cosmic miniature. If a poet looks through a microscope or a telescope, he always sees the same thing.
Distance, too, creates miniatures at all point on the horizon, and the dreamer, faced with these spectacles of distant nature, picks out these miniatures as so many nests of solitude in which he dreams of living. It remains true, nevertheless, that a phenomenologist of images must take note of the extreme simplicity of these reflections which so successfully separate the daydreamer from the restless world, and give him an impression of domination at little cost but once it commonplace nature has been pointed out, we realize that this is specifically the dream of high solitude. Enclosed solitude would think other thoughts. It would deny the world otherwise, and would not have a concrete image with which to dominate it. For images cannot be measured. And even when they speak of space, they change in size.
In general, too, facts do not explain values. And in works of the poetic imagination, values bear the mark of such novelty that everything related to the past, is lifeless beside them. All memory had to be reimagined. Things are indications before they are phenomena; the weaker the indication, the greater the significance, since it indicates an origin.
Such images as these must be taken, at the least, in their existence as a reality of expression. For they owe their entire being to poetic expression, and this being would be diminished if we tried to refer them to a reality.
‘’Listen – now there’s nothing – but complete silence – listen.’’ We hardly know where to situate this silence, whether in the vast world or in the immense past. But we do know that it comes from beyond a wind that dies down or a rain that grows gentle.
How hard is it to situate the values of being and non-being! And where is the root of silence? Is it a distinction of non-being, or a domination of being? It is ‘’deep’’. But where is the root of its depth? In the universe where sources about to be born are praying, or in the heart of a man who has suffered? And at what height of being should listening ears become aware?
Violaine (who is blind) – I hear…
Mara – What do you hear?
Violaine – Things existing with me.
How much of the world must one retain in order to be accessible to transcendency?

Jorieke Rottier

Vlissingen, Nederland

'Onderweg' is a series of articles about artists, insights and topics which I encounter during my artist practice. Every article serves as a short, subjective introduction.


BACHELARD, Gaston, The poetics of space, ISBN0807064734, p. 148-182
Header image: Yooree Yang

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