Last summer, Prof. Tanaka Jun’s seminar on philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space organized an exhibition they entitled “Topophilie” in the clock tower of the main building at the Komaba campus. I was not in the seminar, although in retrospect it looks like it must have been an amazing experience.
I also have yet to read The Poetics of Space, but a quote I found while helping translate the catalogue to the exhibit fascinates me.
Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home. . . Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.
Another connection I had to the exhibit was through a friend of mine, Hara Rurihiko, who made music for the exhibit and who asked my friend Eleonore to read some French poetry and I to read a poem by Rilke, all quotations from Bachelard’s text. He then mixed the recordings of our voices into the two songs “forêtphilie” and “ma forêt ancestrale” that were played at the exhibition, which, because it took place during the summer break, I was sadly unable to attend. What I do have, however, is the music.