Having suffered much pain and endured much hardship during the COVID-19 crisis, now at the end of 2021, we humankind are slowly beginning the process toward regaining what we are forced to abandon. However, as many insist, we won't come back to the same world we used to live in, thus new values and life styles are needed. The contemporary artist Shusaku Arakawa and the poet Madeline Gins, from the 1990s onward, sought the creation of a new "environment" in which the senses of our living bodies are transformed. Based on this new sense of the body and on a critique of existing values, they sought to envision a truly livable society. The art and philosophy of Arakawa and Gins, therefore, provides valuable clues in a search for a new way of life required in the post-COVID-19 era.
Who are we and where are we going?—"puzzle creatures to ourselves, we are visitations of inexplicability." Arakawa and Gins posed these questions via multiple modes in the most profound manner, proposing concrete (albeit tentative) visions for the coming century. Recall that Arakawa always urged us: "do it, now!" Need we be reminded that the 22nd century is coming soon, now!
Embracing this spirit, AGxKANSAI 2022: Art and Philosophy in the 22nd Century After ARAKAWA+GINS, an international conference, is organized jointly by Studies of the Architectural Body Research Group at the Institute of Oriental and Occidental Studies, Kansai University and Kyoto University of the Art.
Since 2016, the Studies of the Architectural Body Research Group at the Institute of Oriental and Occidental Studies, Kansai University have promoted transdisciplinary research projects on Arakawa and Gins. Building on the issues and themes explored at previous Arakawa and Gins conferences (AG1: University of Paris X, 2005; AG2: University of Pennsylvania/Slought Foundation, 2008: and AG3 Online/Columbia University/Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2010), AGxKANSAI 2022 will explore the shape of art and philosophy toward/in the 22nd century through lectures, dialogues, presentations, exhibitions, and performances. "After ARAKAWA+GINS" at once signifies our desire to follow after their future-forward vision even after their untimely demise.