Haruhiko Murakawa, "To Not Die"
Arakawa states "Death is actual, and death exists. Therefore, life should not be eliminated." Since the birth of Life, there was no death for about two billion years. Then, about one and a half billion years ago, sexual reproduction emerged and the death of individuals began. Along with this, the genetic mechanism of cell death was implanted in the organism: apoptosis as a mechanism for eliminating unwanted cells from the cell community, and apobiosis as a mechanism for eliminating individual organisms. These two different cell death programs in the organism allow life to continue beyond individuality. Thereby, the individual organism grows from the fertilized egg through repeated cell division and, at the same time, physically decomposes itself, dropping dirt, fluid, and manure on the ground. I wonder how Arakawa and Gins, aiming to reverse the destiny of individual death, envisioned implementing this decomposition and decay in their "Architectural Body." In this presentation I would like to explore this issue, while referring to some negative attitudes toward rotting and collapsing dead bodies in Buddhism and Japanese mythology.
Haruhiko Murakawa Ph.D, is professor of the Faculty of Health and Well-being at Kansai University. His research interests are Somatics, Education on life and death, and Transpersonal Psychology. His papers include "Social and Cultural Aspects of the Japanese Attitudes towards Dying Process in the Late Modernity" Bulletin of The Institute of Oriental and Occidental Studies Vol.52, (2019), and "The Void of Experienced Meaning in Japanese Society: Ambivalent Attitudes toward Traditional Bodily Practices" in Don Hanlon Johnson (ed.), Diverse Bodies, Diverse Practices: Toward an inclusive Somatics, North Atlantic Books, (2018).
Kei Hirakura, "Diagramming Ghosts: The Use of Movements-Images-Words in the Film For Example by Arakawa and Gins "
This paper presents a detailed analysis of Arakawa and Madeline Gins' second and final film, For Example (1971), to show how the work created "ghosts" in a city through the complex figures of movements-images-words. The ghosts are generated from diagrams. The film was designed as an extended demonstration of The Mechanism of Meaning (1971), in which a boy playing a drunken vagrant performs strange exercises on the streets of New York, including those presented in The Mechanism. The city is a diagram that automatically choreographs how people act, and the boy remakes it by superimposing other diagrams on it through his drunken movements. Gins' text and Arakawa's camerawork further complicate the diagrams; the text turns the boy's gestures into a series of repetitive diagrammatic verses, while the camera finds empty geometric "containers" beside the boy's body that echo his movements like afterimages. This complex presentation of diagrammatic movements-images-words creates what the film calls "ghosts," the invisible virtual doubles of the boy's body. The paper finally reveals that the idea of the ghost in the film is essential to understanding the development of Arakawa and Gins' thoughts. It is the key to unlocking the concept of "critical resemblance" in Arakawa and Gins' later architecture, where the ghost-like doubles of residents are said to be produced through the diagrammatic walls and paths.
Kei Hirakura is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Urban Innovation, Yokohama National University. He earned his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Studies from The University of Tokyo. He has published widely on 20th and 21st century visual and performing arts in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., and on theories of extended mind and embodied art making. He is the author of How Figures Think: Studies of Art Making (University of Tokyo Press, 2019), and Godard's Method (s) (Inscript, 2010).