My chapter 'Biotopological Craftsmanship in the Here and Now' is now published in the book Art and Philosophy in the 22nd Century: After Arakawa and Madeline Gins. I am honoured to share my perspective on the potentials of biotopological craftsmanship in this publication on the work of Japanese- American artist duo Arakawa and Madeline Gins.
At the intersection between West and East, biotopolgical craftsmanship can function as fertile ground for growing alternative visions and variant rythms to existing ideologies. It is in the here and now that we can shift our practice to reciprocity. It is in the here and now that compassionate actions are felt.
In this publication, I explore the future potentials of biotopological craftsmanship. As artist and poet-philosopher of reversible destinies, Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins construct an architectural life in which dying is illegal. By turning their focus to the built environment, they not only overturn the concept of Modern architecture, but more specifically they introduce an architectural turn in the philosophy of life. With biotopology they introduce a philosophy-cum-architecture in which the one-directional arrow of progress is spatialized across 360 degrees to emphasize the energetic life of ubiquitous meaning.
Departing from initial findings on Japan-ness in Arakawa and Gins, and iterating upon the concept of biotopology, biotopological craftsmanship is introduced as an approach to architecture after the procedural architecture of Arakawa and Gins. Whereas biotopology is foremost a science—a field of knowing as sited awareness—in the architectural appropriation of the concept it becomes the craft of an attuned, vitalized and situated coordination of social and environmental bodies in movement by means of architectural interventions. Like biotopology, this spatial habitus does away with the discrete object and shifts focus to particular instances of reciprocity. It is a craftsmanship not of wood, but of bio-topo-logical entrainment. In a world in which social and ecological degradation is our main concern, biotopological craftsmanship promotes a life-affirmative, animistic and empathic approach to architectural practice, research and pedagogy.
“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.
This book comes out of the international conference AGxKANSAI 2022 (at Kyoto University of the Arts, March 11–15, 2022) organized by the Studies of the Architectural Body Research Group, Kansai University. Building upon select lectures and papers of AGxKANSAI 2022, it seeks to look back sincerely at Arakawa and Gins’s legacy as well as look ahead to see how we can continue what they have left in the context of the situations we are facing now, and beyond, toward the 22nd century.