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INFLeXions No. 6 – Arakawa + Gins special issue of Inflexions

Here Where it Lives...Biocleave by
Jondi Keane & Trish Glazebrook
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The scope and impact of AG3 can be indicated, in a blunt way, by a few statistics. There were 4000 users (separate IP address) logged into the website over the 14 days of the online conference equating to 2000 and 3000 people if some logged in from home and work. The number of hits (accessing pages and movement from page to page was in the millions), but more interestingly the number of sessions for the conference, defined as a user logged in for at least an hour, was almost 500 per day and on the first weekend of the conference when between 800 and 1000 sessions were logged. [1]

The conference continued with a face-to-face meeting in New York from April 30 to May 2nd, 2010.

On the first day, a group of scholars and practitioners convened at Barnard College, Madeline Gins' alma mater. The occasion was presided over by Serge Gavronsky, with Martin Rosenberg and Jondi Keane as masters of ceremonies introducing the scholarly papers by Trish Glazebrook, Reuben and Joan Baron and Gordon Bearn followed by numerous performative pieces by George Quasha, Charles Bernstein, Ilse Pfiefer, Daria Fain and Melissa Smedley.

The next day, a symposium at the multimedia theater in the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NY, continued the festivities with a distinguished dais that included Alexandra Munroe, Gregg Lambert, Don Byrd, Pia Ednie-Brown, Russell Hughes, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, Mackenzie Wark, Mary Ann Caws, David Kolb, Martin E. Rosenberg, Jondi Keane and, of course, Madeline Gins.

On the final day, a group of 40 participants visited Bioscleave House on Long Island. These NY events coincided with two major exhibitions in Japan.

These events were planned to coincide with two events in Japan: an exhibition of Arakawa's early "coffin" works at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, (April to June 2010) and an exhibition of Arakawa and Gins work at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (May until June 2010).

How to proceed after a conference is done? Dine, reflect, expand; share findings. AG3 produced a hothouse for cross-pollination. Like the previous Arakawa and Gins conferences in Paris and Philadelphia, AG3 re-evaluates and focuses our understandings of and solutions to the intersection of scientific findings, social inquiry, and organizational structures. The present collection testifies to the scope and impact of a procedural approach that lay in the links explored through the perspectives and practices of the contributing authors. The papers selected for this special issue of Inflexions reflect the wide range of research that Arakawa and Gins' work draws upon and influences across the arts, sciences and humanities.

Throughout this collection, readers will find that ethical concerns raised by the authors point to ways in which otherness emerges and dissolves through the fluctuations in the organism-person-environment. All that emerges, whether foreseen or unanticipated, must be given room to operate. By exploring the extent of 'person' through the work of Arakawa and Gins, new dimensions to inter-subjectivity may allow our most basic efforts to think, feel, say and act in the world to reconfigure.

The papers collected here assist us in refocusing interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approaches to the observation, study and transformation of embodied approaches for collective concerns. Arakawa and Gins' project, in this regard, is the most advanced and inclusive, addressing the human question in both practical and theoretical ways while resisting the tendency to separate out certain ideas or methods for special consideration. Each aspect of their practice tests our seriousness, challenges our commitment and implicates us in a history of acquiescence.

Fig. 1: Arakawa and Gins, photograph by Dimitris Yeros, 2008.

In what is often the very first moment of meeting Arakawa and Gins through their writings, exhibitions, installations, built environments, houses, villages or city plans – they stake their position. In the awkward moment that follows an initial encounter, a cascade of questions follows; questions that would take a lifetime to ask and to answer; questions that in a world without time must be asked before you say hello.

Arakawa and Gins make their position known by building the procedures that become new environments as well as constructing approaches by which the environment may be occupied, individually and collectively. Once acquainted with their reversible destiny project, it is possible to observe how Arakawa and Gins continually modulate, restate and re-think their position, connecting the dots differently each time. This is what they mean by bioscleave: the constant joining and separating of segments of awareness (cleaving). Architectural procedures cleave segments of awareness while infusing tentativeness through the process in order to hold open as many opportunities for cleaving as possible. The two aspects of reversible destiny must operate together: the cleaving of awareness alongside the imperative to carry this out with tentativeness. In this way persons may participate in the world-forming capacity that Arakawa and Gins once called the blank [2] to indicate the unformed potential through which forms to emerge, and now call architectural body, to indicate the inseparability of the organism-person-environment.

The making of the world is a twofold process in constant flux. To engage with its potential no one segment, process or modality takes precedence over another. The task of a daily research approaching meaning and value procedurally would be to devise and revise "the types and combinations of bodily movements most conducive to an optimal tentative constructing towards a holding in place and which constructed discursive sequences best constrain them." [3] Observe, learn, study, reconfigure, transform … then re-enter observation, learning, what counts as knowledge and continue to reconfigure … to not to die. Decide for yourself how impossible tasks enhance perception and action. Don't judge too quickly, remain purposeful and have a supply of tentativeness. Parlay indirectness. Ask all your intelligence to speak. Don't be so damned sure of yourself. Build the question. Write what the question invites you to do. When confronted with the challenges that Arakawa and Gins pose, join the "dance of attention" (Manning). Ask: How serious are we about our commitment to closure?

A little more than two weeks after the closing events at Barnard College and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Arakawa died on May 18, 2010. In retrospect, from around November 2009, Arakawa had become more reclusive. Always generous with their time and energy, the couple was not receiving visitors with the frequency with which they were accustomed and the openness for which they were renowned. They would often call scholars or practitioners out of the blue after having read an essay or book and, without much ceremony, launch into intense discussion. They received and cultivated friendships with people from all walks of life and would talk to anyone interested in moving the collective discussion forward.

Arakawa's generosity took the form of a more impersonal largess, often playing the role of trickster and provocateur, speaking indirectly and enigmatically or pointedly and conclusively. He was given to giving examples that were both extremely grounded and accessible while being offered in the form of a Zen koan. His personal strength, evident in the physicality of his movements as well as in the uncompromising agility of his intellectual maneuvers, perhaps led him to take up his battle inwardly. Perhaps, during the quick progression of his illness, he could hear the snipes of those who would only see his illness and death as the come-uppance of a man who had 'decided not to die' rather than recognize the intense liveliness of a person who had been constantly deciding how to live, re-inventing himself at every moment, even when dying.

This collection of essays is not a bouquet of flowers for Arakawa, it is a continuation of the vitality that Arakawa brought to all aspects of his life and his collaboration with Madeline Gins. While celebrating their work, the aim of this collection is to rigorously engage and continue the line of enquiry that his work with Madeline Gins has set in motion. This aim is best served by wrestling with the prompts, prods and puzzles initiated by Arakawa and Gins that sustain us most. The aim of this introduction is to provide a sense of the rich context from which the online conference arose in March 2010 as well as implications and the applications towards which Arakawa and Gins' procedural architecture point.

Madeline Gins lives in New York and continues the reversible destiny project.

Structure of the AG issue of Inflexions:

This special issue of Inflexions on Arakawa and Gins is not a linear, static construction of texts that presents itself to each reader in the same way. Readers are themselves an unruly bunch, who plunder and reassemble texts by jumping straight to the last page, dipping in here and there, beginning in the middle, never finishing … Even before the multi-stable ambiguities of horizon-fusing hermeneutics, in which each reader is their own interpretive context, texts fragment and unify against the plan of authors and publishers and with the freedom of movement readers engage or let slip. We invite you to take full advantage of a procedural approach and construct the collection for yourself on new terms each time. This introduction does not accept that readers are free to rebuild the text – it demands it. Like the collection of essays it introduces, this necessary contingency embraces archi-textual multiplexity by providing nothing more or less than an aggregation of places to land on, in, from and through so that each reader can hyper-tect their own dwelling with Arakawa and Gins.

In the NODE section readers will find both the selected contributors, whose essays have been expanded and developed for publication and the texts of the video keynote presentations from AG3 Online.

In the Contributors section of the NODE, the essayists include emerging scholars and established authors that have each been attracted to the project of Arakawa and Gins from their unique personal, academic or practical experiences. Several aspects link the essays. First, a concern for the way Arakawa and Gins inform an ethical practice that begins at the most rudimentary engagements and movements with others and the environment. Second, is the way in which the collective, always present in the individual, operates in a practice of procedural architecture and informs the urban, social and cultural production of meaning and value. Lastly, the papers point to two modalities of engagement with the work of Arakawa and Gins. On one hand several papers present an analytical approach drawing upon sources in the sciences namely biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, biophysics, consciousness studies, experimental psychology, ecological psychology, autopoiesis and dynamic systems theory to engage with Arakawa and Gins. On the other hand, several papers align with an approach that is more enactive, affective, practice-based and performative, which stem from enquiries within art theory, feminist discourse on subjectivity, vision and visuality, spatiality and aesthetic experience. [4] All of the authors find Arakawa and Gins to be provocateurs and guides to life on new terms. We encourage you to browse the abstracts to make other threads and networks of relations (Trish Glazebrook and Sarah Conrad; David Kolb; Jean-Jacques Lecercle; Russell Hughes; Hideo Kawamoto; Helene Frichot; Troy Rhoades; Blair Solovy; James Cunningham; Stephen Read; Stanley Shostak; Eugene Gendlin; Jondi Keane).

Within the Keynotes section of the NODE, texts from keynotes video presenters (at AG3 Online) have been compiled, which represent an extraordinary collection of scholars and practitioners from art, architecture, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, comparative literature, poetry and poetics, life sciences, medicine and education. Themes that emerge from the keynotes involve the importance of play and the role of enjoyment and elation that Arakawa and Gins' procedural architecture incites. These authors join an impressive list of distinguished authors to have discussed Arakawa and Gins' work. [5] Three keynote texts have not been included in this collection: Takashi Ikegami's interview with Mia Kukamara and Don Byrd and Makenzie Warks' improvised conversation (both found through and Shaun Gallagher's essay, which has previously been published: "Aesthetics and Kinaesthetics" can be found in Sehen und Handeln. Eds. Horst Bredekamp and John Michael Krois. Berlin: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2011: 99-113.

You will also find a TRIBUTES section that consists of reflective evaluations and personal accounts of Arakawa. The TANGENTS section offers works that use Arakawa and Gins as a starting point or a springboard to further thought. Two texts began life at the Guggenheim event in May 2010: Erin Manning and Brian Massumi's text mixes Arakawa and Gins, Deleuze, Whitehead and others in a series of voiced riffs while Ken Wark distills from Arakawa and Gins' procedural approach a numbered set of reworked propositions. There are also several evocative video works included in the TANGENTS section that have emerged from wrestling with the poetic proposition of Arakawa and Gins' work (George Quasha) and the spatial characteristics of Bioscleave House (Bob Bowen).

--Trish Glazebrook

I don't want to live forever. I just don't want to die right now, here. And I always feel like that. Kagan recently argued that fearing death doesn't make sense. [6] Nothing new there – Epicurus argued in the 3rd century BCE that when I am here, death is not; and when death is here, I am not; so what's death to me? [7] Has nothing new been said about death in two millennia? Those who consider intellectual history typically take the Eurocentric view that it began in ancient Greece and culminated in contemporary technoscience. For a long time, I had known that a therapeutic alternative is desperately needed in a world sick with fossil fuels, habitat destruction, conflict …

Then I met Madeline. Finally, I could come to the question that is death not in fear. Not a reason to live, but living reason.

Immortality has recently slipped through the fingers of radicals like Extropians and Betterhumans, into the hands of mainstream researchers who consider death an engineering problem. Aubrey de Grey, a computer technician in the Department of Genetics at Cambridge who describes himself as a "theoretical gerontologist," claims that for US$ 100 million, his Institute of Biomedical Gerontology will turn his Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence into reality. [8] Futurologist Ray Kurzweil and nutritionist Terry Grossman recommend a "bridge to a bridge" strategy using available technology to slow ageing and get to subsequent technologies not yet available. [9] Kurzweil takes 250 dietary supplements daily and weekly intravenous infusions to restore cell membranes. Genetic tests determine his susceptibility to cancers and the best therapies. He says nanotechnology is only 20 years away from replacing the digestive tract with tiny robots to provide direct nutritional delivery to organs and tissues. Such technoscientific approaches assume that aging is a technical problem best approached through engineering, and that science and technology tend towards the better.

Indeed, much of the 20th century saw improvements in life expectancy. The 1990s saw expansion of the role of government in health, e.g. anti-smoking legislation and Safe Sex campaigns, coupled with an increased sense of individual responsibility for lifestyle choices of diet and exercise. Yet since 1990, rates of life expectancy increase have slowed or stalled. In Canada, from 1920 to 1992, life expectancy rose by 16 years for males and 20 for females. [10] But it was the same in 2003 as it was in 1992. [11] In Germany, the rate of increase from 2000 to 2003 was half that in previous decades. In New Zealand, life expectancy rose by increasing amounts in each decade between 1970 and 2000; but in 2003, it was the same as in 2000. Given substantial advances in knowledge, e.g. mapping the human genome, awareness of genetic factors in cancer, it is clear that more knowledge does not necessarily lead to longer lives. Science and technology seem in fact more likely culprits contributing to mortality as they underwrite poor consumer practices and increased exposure to toxins. It may be time for knowledge and thinking to evolve beyond technoscience.

Indeed, engineering-oriented immortalists have failed to consider that there is no way to predict what effect longevity will have on the mind. Organisms that person are not just bodied but embodied, that is, phenomenologically located as bodies that think. Immortality thus calls for as much re-engineering of conceptual space as it does of bodily process. Arakawa and Gins (AG) are unique in their contribution that architects precisely such originary reconceptualization. They reject the defeatism underlying the "assumption or attitudinal stance [that] we – each and every one of us – must die," [12] and devise instead an architectural ethics that values life by seeing "mortality as fundamentally unethical." [13] Given the statistics above, longevity is indeed in crisis: AG's "crisis ethics" [13] is an architectural praxis that constructs surroundings for the embodied self that make it possible ultimately for "an organism-person to go on indefinitely." [14] That is, mortality is no longer necessary to the human condition.

Rather than providing detailed explication of AG, my intent is to push their thinking by raising three objections. The first is the philosophical claim that death is what makes thinking possible. The second asks whether AG can be green. The third asks where they stand on gender.


Heidegger argues in Being and Time that being-towards-death is fundamental to authenticity. [15] Awareness of temporality, i.e. that one's future contains a possibility beyond which there are no more possibilities, makes possible inquiry into being beyond, for example, scientific collection of facts. Heidegger may of course simply be wrong. Western philosophy is founded on the idea that knowledge consists not in duplicitous, short-lived truths concerning nature, but begins with a vision of eternity. As Diotima tells Socrates, one turns "to the great sea of beauty, and, gazing upon this, [gives] birth to many gloriously beautiful ideas and theories." [16] The lover of wisdom thereby gains a share in immortality.

What sense, however, does "a share in immortality" make? Immortality seems more like pregnancy: there are no partial states. In the physicists' terminology, immortality is not a continuous spectrum variable. Or is it? Is it qualitatively different from indefinite quantitative extension of life? Here AG perhaps agree with the engineers. Unlike a divine who is in principle eternal, human immortals may instead be simply mortals that go on indefinitely. Thus immortality would be, borrowing from Aristotle on infinity, like the Olympic games; experienced not as a single event, but as a sequence of successive events. The point is not not-to-die once and for all, but not to die right now, here, in every instance.

Thus the philosophical proclivity for eternal truth does not preclude death; rather, death is what makes philosophy possible. So is "crisis ethics" ever finished? When architectural body actualizes, is death left behind? Or does the new paradigm have at its heart continual revolt against death? Is immortality on-going refusal, forever "crisis ethics," or is death obliviated in its first refusal? If death's refusal is an active foundation of landing sites, then Heidegger's claim that being-towards-death is constitutive of thinking lives at the heart of the architectural body.

Organic Truths: Nature and Death

Landing sites are embodied, embedded ecosystems. Nature is radically different from human projects of architected space: nature is always already there, despite always being mediated by thinking and interpreted. The belief that human being transcends the natural order has played a substantial role in the globally destructive ideology that privileges the human species, and thereby entitles people, often by divine imperative, to reduce nature to its instrumental value. Does refusal to die entail transcendence of the natural order? How then might sustainability be incorporated into crisis ethics? Are landing sites green? Nature is oikos – home – landing sites are always already eco-logical openings, and the original Garden of Reversible Destiny is beautiful in its harmony of naturalized architecting.

Rebirth into immortal thinking would be midwifely smoothed by explicit articulation of the place of sustainability in AG's archi-ethical principles. Yet the ideology of the technoscientific practices underwriting current global destruction depends entirely on erection of universal, unchanging, immortal truths. In contrast, understanding that everything dies supports an organic conception of truth. That is, truths themselves are born, grow, perhaps flourish, and eventually die. Critiques of science and technology that target universalist conceptions of truth suggest instead eco-logical epistemologies that model knowledge on natural process toward sustainable praxes of science and technology; that is, they ground praxes that work with natural process rather than seeking to control and dominate nature. [17] Is refusal to die at the heart of the eco-problem ideologically as well as obviously practically (how many immortals can one planet sustain)? Are AG incompatible with sustainability?

AG make nonsense of the human/nature, nature/civilization either-ors that make these questions possible. Their immortality is procedural – never fixed and static, but always on the move, provisional. Personing, organisming is valued inherently, while truths are instrumental, and come and go. This is not hypostatization of libidinal economies, but a critical, ethical call to conscience in which the destiny of technoscientific capital is reversed by proceduring responsibility. Why cannot personing be green? How can it be anything but?

Gender and Life

Irigaray argues in Speculum of the Other Woman that the philosophical tendency to immortality is a phallic project. [18] She reads Plato's cave analogy as a kind of inverted Oedipal Complex: the father is loved, the mother murdered. Her cave is the originary place, the womb. In making the philosophical journey outside the cave to the realm of the forms, the philosopher leaves behind the mother and the natural order, that is, mortality. Killing/ignoring gender enacts a phallic logic of the same that marginalizes and oppresses women. Indeed, historically woman has been displaced and disempowered by her failure to measure up on sticks calibrated according to male criteria. For example, Aristotle's woman is a man without enough body heat to turn blood to semen; Freud's is a castrated man. Whitbeck further identifies "woman" historically as partial man; the secondary, lesser term in a series of oppositions; and man's assistant and helpmate. [19]

In AG, landing sites are embodied. So gender must be either significant in archi-ethics because it architects experience; or … Can AG's project enact difference of any kind, but especially gender? If AG's refusal to die does not re-cement the phallic order, then Irigaray is wrong and it is possible to think immortal without succumbing to reductive logics of the same.


These issues pose three versions of one question: is it possible to think immortal without universal truth? If AG invert truth and human existence – organisms that person can go on indefinitely, but truths pass away – then space is archi-ethiced for sustainability and justice. Thinking is a womb: originary placing.

--TG, October 2012

-- Jondi Keane

For Arakawa and Gins everything is Context. In order to provide a context for the aims of this collection of essays, two aspects of Arakawa and Gins' project must be confronted, both of which have become sticking points to engaging with their work. After a first encounter and perhaps because the tone and purpose of the work is difficult to locate at first, responses become polarized. Two issues stand out in this regard:

1.) the declaration not to die and

2.) the seemingly static conditions of architecture.

From these provocations and potential blockages two vital processes emerge to suggest a way through the morass of philosophical and scientific information that offer enticements to further engagement:

a.) parlaying indirectness [20] and

b.) constructing heuristic life.

Two sticking points to further engagement with Arakawa and Gins

1. The first sticking point for many people is the declaration "We have decided not to die" most famously emblazoned across the cover of the 1997 Guggenheim catalogue. The undertow of this confronting statement stems from its personal nature yet also implicates the reader immediately by positioning them potentially as supporters of the conditions that make this statement seemingly impossible. Many mistake this as an immortality scheme or an absurdist proposition, an ironic stance thrown in the face of a troubled world. The point, however, is not to defy or erase death, but to test the seriousness of anyone who proposes to be an advocate for health, increased capacity and collective action. Arakawa and Gins concede "perhaps a less terrifying and therefore more inviting way … is as an open challenge to our species to reinvent itself and to desist from foreclosing on any possibility, even those our contemporaries judge to be impossible." [21]

2. A second sticking point that many persons face when encountering Arakawa and Gins' project is the observation that architecture is static and therefore a person would get "used to" the disorientation that procedural architecture produces. It is argued that the fixity of architecture would undo procedural architecture's usefulness as an ongoing research tool. Architecture does not change or move, at least not at a tempo we would describe as movement. Objections to reversible destiny based on a notion that architecture is static does not account for the way complex forms participate in the dynamic relationships with other things, co-mingling material processes and meaningful consequences. For example, books and paintings, like architecture, are static objects in this generalized sense. In books, the words do not re-assemble from day-to-day or year-to-year and paint does not re-arrange (other than to fall off, crackle, fade) … yet from day-to-day and year-to-year, one's engagements with a select book or painting alters dramatically and even profoundly, often based on the task one sets for searching and re-searching.

Of course, a constant and ongoing re-entry practice such as the one Arakawa and Gins promote, must be complex enough to sustain engagement over time. If a system becomes complex enough in the relationships that it offers, it will continuously generate sets of infinite possibility and potential reconfigurations. The invention and assembly of architectural procedures involves producing conditions that are not the equal of life, but are equally generative of life on other terms. In this way, Arakawa and Gins' reversible destiny project shares with Artificial Life researchers an emphasis on the generative without attachment to the form that sentience takes or the matter from which sentience emerges.

Two vital processes

If a person persists, either through curiosity or enticement, to continue their engagement with Arakawa and Gins, then the transformative potential procedural architecture may emerge in the form of two vital processes that address the hesitations caused by seeming impossibility or fixity versus recursion: parlaying indirectness and constructing heuristic life.

a. Parlaying indirectness. Gins and Arakawa's term organism-person-environment [22] signals the permeability that tentativeness may produce, which would countermand the fixity of identity in favor of continuity and modulation. New modes of continuity (reconfiguration of the senses, changes to the extent of person, interaction of perceptual and conceptual processing, etc) generated by procedural architecture are replete with emergent connections that deregulate the labor required to move from organism to person to surround. The deregulation of movement across material processes and scales of action emphasizes the link between research and embodied practice, which in turn, makes disciplinary findings available for collaborative inquiry. Indirectness involves honing skills of anticipation that initiate change in the organism by generating complexity in the environment. Endeavors to sense and negotiate a complex environment in any given situation can be inflected by the conditions presented via "tactically posed surround". [23] If the environment sets up an "atmospheric intricateness" then no single feature, movement or segment of awareness can be held directly responsible for initiating action and/or change. It is the movement through tentative nets of relationships that brings (an) architectural body to life. By factoring the emergence of unanticipated connections into procedural architecture, one might begin to devise conditions and environments that dilate relationships and hold them open for re-entry.

b. Constructing heuristic life. Arakawa and Gins' overarching aim is to provide observational-heuristic devices so that persons may devise transformational and reconfigurative opportunities. The stipulation is that the new opportunities must be body-wide, that is, built investigations that engage connection across the organism-person-environment. Heuristic tools are pragmatic. They prompt perceptions and actions. They evaluate and question the assignation of value. In the case of procedural architecture, the heuristic tools prompt re-entry, tentativeness, indirectness, sited awareness, landing site configurations, perceptual learning, procedural knowing, etc. Heuristics is not processes of production but supplies an additional loop of awareness conditioning the possibilities of production. In Arakawa and Gins' reversible destiny project, heuristic tools are presented in the form of tactically posed surrounds, which ask the perceiver to become aware of the way s/he is perceiving. Heuristic tools whether built hypotheses or discursive sequences, are of no use if they do not provide a way forward, a way of learning.

In the search for a new process, new methods or tools, it is crucial not to favor one modality /process/connection at the expense of others. For example, to value perceptual learning over conceptual knowledge, the continuous over the discrete, deeds over words. Learning, in terms of evolution, reflects inventiveness, adaptability, and exploitation of pre-adaptive potential. Heuristic life as a form of daily research, applies the emergent processes of learning and the degrees of freedom it makes available towards transformation of selection and organization.

A crucial and novel aspect of Arakawa and Gins' ethical approach to research is their willingness to ask, "who benefits from the research being conducted?" Experimental science is not set up to benefit the subjects of the experiments but to allow the trained observer to draw out invariants beneficial to us all. In contrast to the experimental model in the sciences, Arakawa and Gins' experiments benefit the subject who is also the researcher and asking him/her to share their finding. In this way, we all become resident-researchers-in-training, or organism-persons on the path to becoming (an) architectural body bent on communal devising.

--JK, October 2012

Arakawa and Gins play a crucial role in the alterative history of art and art-science. As thinkers who have tried to make connections across materialism, speculation and abstraction, their unique approach to making distinctions and emphasizing continuity is always aimed at producing new knowledge, finding new modalities of meaning and examining the way value is assigned. Their work demonstrates the seriousness required to bring everything to bear on the present moment. Deciding not to die tests us in each moment and allows us to witness the ongoing experiment of perceiving, thinking, feeling and talking endlessly about everything as an art of not dying.

Madeline Gins is continuing the work that she and Arakawa started 40 years ago. In the near future we may see The Mechanism of Meaning housed in a permanent collection and major exhibitions of Arakawa's work. Madeline is currently producing work for new architectural commissions and is activating Bioscleave House for diverse new communities. Organisms that person today, architectural bodies … not if but when.

Thanks to:

Arakawa and Madeline Gins

Inflexions journal:

Special thanks to Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, the founders of Inflexions journal, Inflexions staff especially Leslie Plumb the interface and issue designer, Toni Pape and the rest of the editorial committee.

AG3 Online conference committee:

Co-organisers: Jondi Keane and Martin E. Rosenberg and committee members: Trish Glazebrook, Russell Hughes, Bobby George. Curators of the Creative Responses for AG3 Online: Bill Lavendar, Alan Prohm and Jason Nelson.

The Architectural Body Research Foundation:

Special thanks to Joke Post and staff, NY, NY and to the staff of Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka, Tokyo with special thanks to Momoyo Homma.

Special thanks to Matt Story for his editorial assistance.

Griffith University:

Special thanks to Prof. Andy Bennett, director of the CCR at Griffith University and the Centre Manager, Sarah Gornall as well as the Information Services Technical team of Sarah Vardy, Heidi Perrett and Jeroen van den Muyzenberg.

At the Barnard event:

The organization and teamwork of Martin E. Rosenberg, Joke Post, Serge Gavronsky.

At the Guggenheim event:

Martin E. Rosenberg, Alexandra Monroe and the Guggenheim staff.

Philanthropists: Virginia Dwan, Francis Naumann, Amailia Dayan.


[1] For a comprehensive understanding of the conference structure, the keynotes presentations, the conference stream video presenters and the 50 contributors' papers, please see the AG3 conference site at the Centre for Cultural Research website of Griffith University, Australia. The site is now a permanent archive, intended as an interdisciplinary platform for ongoing research.

[2] Arakawa and Gins 1987.

[3] Gins and Arakawa 2002: 59.

[4] We could add to this Jean-Michel Rabatι's description of the engagement of Arakawa and Gins' project with an array of discourses from "Deleuzian and Heideggeraian philosophy and linguistic analysis to art criticism, phenomenology, urban studies, poetry, design, sociology, … Buddhist logic, embryology, evolution theory, ecology and, of course, architecture [all of which] attest to the immense vitality of a procedural thinking that traverses and coordinates all categories" (Arakawa and Gins 2003: 17-27, 6).

[5] Scholars who have written on Arakawa and Gins include Hans-Geog Gadamer, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Andrew Benjamin, Italo Calvino, Arthur Danto, George Lakoff, Mark Taylor, Donald Kuspit, Carter Ratcliff, Lawrence Alloway, Mary Ann Caws, Ed Keller, Charles Bernstein, Robert Creeley and Nicholas Piombino among many others.

[6] Kagan 2012.

[7] Long and Sedley 1987: 150.

[8] Klerkx 2005.

[9] Kurzweil and Grossman 2004.

[10] (October 31, 2012).

[11] (October 31, 2012).

[12] Gins and Arakawa 2002: xiv.

[13] Gins and Arakawa 2002: xviii.

[14] Gins and Arakawa 2002: xx.

[15] Heidegger 1962: §§46-53.

[16] Plato 1989: 210D.

[17] Cf. Glazebrook 2005.

[18] Irigaray 1985.

[19] Whitbeck 1973-74.

[20] Arakawa and Gins 2003: 21.

[21] Gins and Arakawa 2002: xviii.

[22] Gins and Arakawa 2002: 1.

[23] Gins and Arakawa 2002: 55, 56.

[24] Arakawa and Gins 2003: 25.


Arakawa, Shusaku and Gins, Madeline. To Not To Die. Paris: Editions de la Diffιrence, 1987.

Arakawa, Shusaku and Gins, Madeline. "Vital Contextualiszing Information for Directions for Architectural Procedure Invention and Assembly." INTERFACES 1.21-22 [Double Issue: "Architecture Against Death/Architecture Contre la Mort"] (2003): 17-27.

Gins, Madeline and Arakawa, Shusaku. Architectural Body. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press: 2002.

Glazebrook, Trish. "Gynocentric Eco-logics." Ethics and the Environment 10.2 (2005): 75-99.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row 1962.

Irigaray, Luce. Speculum of the Other Woman. Trans. Gillian C. Gill. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Kagan, Shelley. "Don't Fear the Reaper." New Scientist 2887 (2012): 42-43.

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  INFLeXions No. 6
Arakawa + Gins

Edited by Jondi Keane & Trish Glazebrook

Open Letters

Madeline Gins

Here Where it Lives...Biocleave
Jondi Keane and Trish Glazebrook 1-21

Mapping Reversible Destiny
Trish Glazebrook and Sarah Conrad 22-40

Escaping the Museum
David Kolb 41-71

Jean-Jacques Lecercle 72-79

The Reversible Eschatology of Arakawa and Gins
Russell Hughes 80-102

Chaos, Autopoiesis and/or Leonardo da Vinci/Arakawa
Hideo Kawamoto 103–111

Daddy, Why do Thing have Outlines?: Constructing the Architectural Body
Helene Frichot 112–124

Tentatively Constructing Images: The Dynamism of Piet Mondrian's Paintings
Troy Rhoades 125–153

Evidence: Architectural Body by Accident, Destiny Reversed by Design

Blair Solovy 154-168

Breathing the Walls
James Cunningham 169–188

Technology and the Body Public
Stephen Read 189-213

Bioscleave: Shaping our Biological Niches
Stanley Shostak 214-224

Arakawa and Gins: The Organism-Person-Environment Process
Eugene Gendlin 225-236

An Arakawa and Gins Experimental Teaching Space – A Feasibility Study
Jondi Keane 237–252


The Mechanism of Meaning: A Pedagogical Skecthbook
Gordon Bearn 253–269

Wayfinding through Landing Sites and Architectural Bodies: Exploring the Roles of Trajectoriness, Affectivatoriness, and Imaging Along
Reuben Baron 270-285

Trajectory of ARAKAWA Shusaku: from Kan-Oké (Coffin) to the Reversible Destiny Lofts
Fumi Tsukahara 286-297

A Snailspace
Tom Conley 298–316

Made/line Gins or Arakawa in

Marie Dominique Garnier 317–339

The Dance of Attention
Erin Manning 340–367

What Counts as Language in a Closely Argued Built-Discourse?
Gregg Lambert 368-380

Constructing Poiesis: Storyboards for an immersive diagramming
Alan Prohm 381–415

Open Wide, Come Inside: Laughter, Composure and Architectural Play
Pia Ednie-Brown416–427


What Arakawa Did
Don Byrd 428–441

Don Ihde 442-445

For Arakawa, Nin More Lives
Jean-Michel Rabaté 446–448


Approximately Arakawa and Gins
Ken Wark 448-449

A Perspective of the Universe
Erin Manning and Brian Massumi

Axial Lecture on Self-Organisation
George Quasha

Bob Bowen

Bob Bowen