Ignacio Adriasola, " 'Of No Use to Me…': On Desire and Negation in a Diagram"
Although they have been usually assumed to be entirely unrelated series, Arakawa worked on diagrammatic paintings concurrently with his "coffins," beginning in the late 1950s. In the aftermath of his move to the United States, the diagrams grew into sparse, large-scale canvases that developed an increasingly hermetic geometry. Some featured the insertion of photographic images, while others presented what he described as "shadows," traces of extra-pictorial objects.
In a 1965 letter to the critic Tōno Yoshiaki, Arakawa described the motive for this new type of diagrammatic work: "I am working on [finding] a new perspective, and a new angle. This is what you are calling a diagram of things. Thinking of perspective and angles is a tool in discovering things like the analysis of memory, or the extinction of objects. Right now, Freud and the like are of no use to me."
Arakawa stated he was not interested in "Freud and the like," while advocating for the development of a diagrammatic approach enabling an "analysis" of objects, conditions of presence and absence, and memory. Of course, these are all key concerns in psychoanalytic theory. In many ways the statement presents a classic instance of negation, which in psychoanalysis usually entails the affirmation of a desire for the denied Other. Through his disavowal of psychoanalysis, Arakawa affirms his work as expression of desire.
Throughout their work and writings, Arakawa and Gins demonstrated awareness of the importance of psychoanalytic theory, which in many ways shares their growing interest in the ambiguity of perception and meaning, the mechanics of desire and the emptiness of the subject. My presentation will examine elements in Arakawa's early diagrammatic paintings that point to convergences and divergences with psychoanalysis in Arakawa and Gins's sustained exploration of desire.
Ignacio Adriasola is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the University of British Columbia. His book Fragment, Image, and Absence in 1960s Japan is forthcoming from Penn State University Press (fall 2022).
Russell Hughes, "Puzzle Features: The DAO of A/G"
Following themes explored in 'Arakawa and Gins in Second Life' (AG2, University of Pennsylvania: 2008), and 'The Human Use of Being Human' (Architectural Body Research Conference, Takachiho University: 2018), we will illustrate how key elements of Arakawa and Gins' vision can be found in the advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) organizational architectures. Offering speculative perspectives on this conference's 22nd century brief, we will specify the prescience of Madeline and Arakawa's insights via exposé of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) (Museum of Living Bodies) in action. Providing a participatory tool for critical holders to productively engage the quantum ecological, epidemiological, economic and techno-social landing sites defining 2022 and beyond, our hope is to showcase and deliver ongoing opportunities for nouveau architectural bodies to propitiously "pull together at the same time as they continue to form themselves as separate individuals" (Gins and Arakawa, 2002: xi).
Russell Hughes applies elements of art, architecture, philosophy and science and technology studies to the design and construction of DAOs. He has presented at all previous Arakawa and Gins conferences, and in 2018 was Visiting Scholar to the Studies of the Architectural Body Research Group.
Kumon Tokumaru, "Beyond the Limitations of Spinal Sign Reflex for Human Intelligence"
The Vertebrate Sign Reflex mechanism was born after the Cambrian Explosion with the invention of CNS (Central Nervous System), Vision, Audition and Ventricle System operated by Neuron and Immune Cell Networks, 530MA (million years ago). It is the basis of mammalian vocal communications. Linguistic humans were born with the laryngeal descent which enabled them to vocalize phonemic and vowel-accented syllables 66KA (thousand years ago) in South Africa, and it is plausible that they used this sign reflex for linguistic processing, thought operations and intelligence build-up. As the Sign Reflex is an involuntary, reflexive, passive, ego-centric, self-satisfactory, survival-first and memory-based system, there are various limitations when we use it for intelligence: (1) overlooking new words and things, (2) being deceived by false signs, (3) being unable to correct errors once recorded in one’s memories, etc. ARAKAWA+GINS’ Reversible Destiny and The Mechanism of Meaning are attempts to overcome such cognitive limitations. A+G tried to equip humans with the capacity to DISCOVER new words and things, exploit genuine intellectual curiosity with a lot of pleasure in everyday life, and reconfigure in-brain memory networks with new knowledge and through experiences of MISTAKE. It is time for humans to become homo sapiens in the true sense.
* pre-recorded paper
BIO: Born 1959 in Oita, Japan. Worked at Nissho-Iwai Corporation, UNESCO, UNEP/NOWPAP. After visiting the oldest modern human site, Klasies River Mouth Caves in South Africa, he has been studying the digital nature of human language and intelligence. He is the author of the book Dogen Wo Yomitoku (2017, in Japanese).