Tentativeness, allowance for mistakes, and, above all, playfulness are key characteristics in the work and philosophy of Arakawa and Madeline Gins. The process of research was as important to them as bringing their work to fruition. Consequently, they left many works and projects in a state of perpetual becoming and experimentation. So, what can we say about their unfinished, unpublished, unbuilt, or open-ended works and projects? This panel provides the key to approaching them, based on the ongoing archival research at the Reversible Destiny Foundation (RDF). The RDF staff have been diving deeper and deeper into the ocean of archival materials, which exist in many forms and conditions—sketches, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, audio visual recordings, and so forth—often encountering more challenges and mysteries than answers. In this sense, the archive is the ultimate “unfinished” work. Like a puzzle, however, when pieces fit together to reveal even a partial view into the minds of Arakawa and Gins, we find a certain joy and renewed curiosity in learning more about their philosophy. At times, it seems that leaving their readers/viewers/researchers with more questions than they started with was perhaps their whimsical intention all along. This panel gives a brief introduction into the Arakawa and Gins archive and explores a variety of entry points into the “unfinishedness” of their art, architecture, and writing through some very interesting archival finds.
Kathryn Dennett (Project Archivist, RDF), “Processing the Left-in-Progress: Discoveries in the Archive of Arakawa + Gins”
This presentation will give an overview of the current state of the Reversible Destiny Foundation Archive, focusing on the evidence of numerous unrealized, unfinished, and left-in-progress projects uncovered in the ongoing process of organizing the records of Arakawa and Gins. Examples will include unpublished poems, proposed building projects, and an unfilmed screenplay, The Grand Mistake.
Amara Magloughlin (Research and Collections Associate), “Medically In Our Time: An Unpublished Book by Madeline Gins”
In the late 1970s, Madeline Gins embarked on a new study of medicine from the perspective of a poet. She spent five years conducting interviews with doctors, researchers, and patients in order to produce a book that would synthesize treatments from across different branches of medicine and care so that patients could have one centralized source to help them navigate their health concerns. This presentation takes a look at her extensive interviews and poetic conclusions.
ST Luk (Projects Manager, RDF), “Ubiquitous Site X or Reversible Destiny Hotel”
This presentation focuses on Arakawa and Madeline Gins’s collaborative working process and will explore some of the critical recurring elements in their architectural projects from Arakawa’s Ubiquitous Site X (1987-91) to the Arakawa + Gins’s Reversible Destiny Hotel. First proposed in the early 2000s, this latter project forms a core part of the Museum of Living Bodies, which remains unrealized today.
Miwako Tezuka (Associate Director, RDF), “How to Finish Arakawa’s Painting by Mistake: A Case of Untitled (1969)”
This presentation contextualizes and historicizes the story of Arakawa’s Untitled (1969), aka “Stolen Painting,” in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut, within the framework of “unfinished works” among RDF’s archival materials.
Comment and Discussion
Reiko Tomii (Archives Advisor, RDF) will comment on the panel and moderate discussions among presenters, followed by Q&A from the audience.
The Reversible Destiny Foundation (RDF) was founded in 2010 by Arakawa and Madeline Gins to promote their work and philosophy in the areas of art, architecture and writing. The foundation is dedicated to supporting research and greater public interest in the ideas and artistic practice of Arakawa and Madeline Gins through a range of initiatives to further advance and preserve their legacy.