Atlas of Places
“Créer n’est pas déformer ou inventer des personnes et des choses. C’est nouer entre des personnes et des choses qui existent et telles qu’elles existent, des rapports nouveaux.”
– Robert Bresson, Notes sur le cinématographe, 1975
Metaphors are transformations of an actual event into a figurative expression, evoking images by substituting an abstract notion for something more descriptive and illustrative. It usually is an implicite comparison between two entities which are not alike but can be compared in an imaginative way. The comparison is mostly done through a creative leap that ties different objects together, producing a new entity in which the characteristics of both take part. The meaning of metaphors is based on comparison and similarities most often of anthropomorphical character, like the human body as a metaphor for the shape of a romanesque cathedral or the conformation of the universe. Designers use the metaphor as an instrument of thought that serves the function of clarity and vividness antedating or bypassing logical processes. “A metaphor is an intuitive perception of similarities in dissimilars,” as Aristotle defined it.
It has been said that scientific discovery consists in seeing analogies where everybody else sees just bare facts. Take, for instance, the human body : a surgeon perceives it mainly as a system of bones, muscles, organs and a circulatory system. A football coach appreciates the performance capacity of the body, the lover has a romantic notion about it, a businessman calculates the working power, a general the fighting strength, and so on. Architects, like Cattaneo, Haring, Soleri and others perceive the human body as a Gestalt which is analogous to their plans either for buildings or cities. They draw an inference by analogy from one to the other. The analogy establishes a similarity, or the existence of some similar principles, between two events which are otherwise completely different. Kant considered the analogy as something indispensable to extend knowledge. In employing the method of analogy it should be possible to develop new concepts and to discover new relationships.