"Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”
-Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
This series of photographs is a continuation of my interest in the significance of physical communication and interaction. The brailled text on these walls of an abandoned, historical home translates into quotations and passages from The Poetics of Space, a book by Gaston Bachelard written in 1958. Bachelard is a French philosopher interested in applying phenomenology to architecture, implying that intimate spaces are poetic vessels of lived experience. He examines locations in the house as places of intimacy and memory, which are manifested in poetic imagery.
Braille has a poetic relationship with our interaction of lived space. It is a symbolic representation of an embedded language, not seen nor heard, but felt. We leave behind physical evidence of our dwellings. The structure of a home is witness to everything that takes place within its walls. Some believe that walls have the ability to absorb our energy and reflect it back on tenants for years to come.
I am attracted to braille for its visual and physical presence. It is a language that few learn to read unless necessary. It is frequently passed up on elevators and in public restrooms, blending in to its surface, “visible” only to those who seek it. It is the most immersive language, as it requires direct contact with the external world. This form of physical communication works in my art as a reference to material connection and the significance of bodily presence in a culture that is becoming more distant and removed from each other and the world around us.
The walls of domestic spaces are private, where sleepless thoughts, fears, dreams, and conversations have occurred. The possible energy enclosed within the architecture remains and accumulates over time, giving off a “feeling” or traces of acquired memory. It is my hope that the viewer finds beauty in the inherent poetry of the braille language, and considers the physical, lived experience that only the remaining material of the structure can tell.