'Landing Sites' of Cosmopolitanism: Arakawa and Gins' Architectural Practice of Person
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Artists turned architects, Arakawa and Gins have devised 'procedural architecture' which aims to study the extent of the site of person. In contrast to current approaches in architecture, urban and environmental planning which emphasise social intervention, Arakawa and Gins' project aims to make the mechanisms and activity of self-invention the basis of architectural practice. The tactics they deploy are indirect, approaching interaction with bio-topological space by constructing environments, or 'tactically posed surrounds'. They propose that opening, re-entering and practicing modes of attention, especially the most minute forms of attention, called 'landing-sites' (2002: 5-22) will enable a person to understand him/herself as the mechanism of meaning. The act of configuring landing-site is precisely the same process used to produce and maintain the organism. Landing-site configurations are the tentative process by which we act as 'world-forming inhabitants' (xxi) and construct ourselves as observers, as singularities, as social beings and as participants in a collective interest. In this paper I will discuss Arakawa and Gins' notion of landings sites (perceptual, imaging and dimensionalising) and the way in which they enact an 'architectural body', in order to discuss their large-scale project: The Museum of Living Bodies , currently under negotiation to be built on a lower Manhattan site. The Museum project draws upon 35 years of their collaborative practice-led research on 'architecture as hypothesis' (29) by which we may observe and participate in the 'shape of awareness' (86). Together with a team of scholars, researchers and supporting institutions, Arakawa and Gins counteract architecture that commemorates and monumentalises the past in favour of a procedural-architecture museum. They have designed a museum that will enact the living present by coordinating body-wide activities, tentative constructions and discursive sequences.
Sites of Cosmopolitanism: Citizenship, Aesthetics, Culture
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