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Shusaku Arakawa Biography

The conceptual artist and architect Shusaku Arakawa believed that human beings could fend off death if only they lived in the right kinds of domestic spaces. He explored this premise in a number of projects he worked on with his wife Madeline Gins. The couple believed that a challenging living environment was the key to immortality. This idea informed the design for their Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA – In Memory of Helen Keller (2005), located in Mitaka, Tokyo. The “lofts” consist of nine residential units, the rooms of which are constructed in the shape of cylinders, cubes, and spheres. Arakawa and Gins took their ideas further in their Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa) (2008) constructed in East Hampton, New York. Painted in over 30 different colors, it features windows at inconvenient heights, undulating floors that resemble sand dunes, and oddly angled light switches. From 1963 onward, Arakawa worked alongside Dins on “The Mechanism of Meaning,” a constantly evolving manifesto/artwork which, in its first edition, consisted of around 80 panels that included diagrams, puzzles, and texts.

Japanese, 1936–2010

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