Inflexions No. 6: Arakawa & Gins

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Edited by Jondi Keane and Trish Glazebrook
Web design and Art Direction by Leslie Plumb

Opening paragraphs to the introduction to the issue, by the editors:

The scope and impact of AG3 can be indicated, in a blunt way, by a few statistics. There were 4000 users (separate IP address) logged into the website over the 14 days of the online conference equating to 2000 and 3000 people if some logged in from home and work. The number of hits (accessing pages and movement from page to page was in the millions), but more interestingly the number of sessions for the conference, defined as a user logged in for at least an hour, was almost 500 per day and on the first weekend of the conference when between 800 and 1000 sessions were logged. [1]

The conference continued with a face-to-face meeting in New York from April 30 to May 2nd, 2010.

On the first day, a group of scholars and practitioners convened at Barnard College, Madeline Gins’ alma mater. The occasion was presided over by Serge Gavronsky, with Martin Rosenberg and Jondi Keane as masters of ceremonies introducing the scholarly papers by Trish Glazebrook, Reuben and Joan Baron and Gordon Bearn followed by numerous performative pieces by George Quasha, Charles Bernstein, Ilse Pfiefer, Daria Fain and Melissa Smedley.

The next day, a symposium at the multimedia theater in the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NY, continued the festivities with a distinguished dais that included Alexandra Munroe, Gregg Lambert, Don Byrd, Pia Ednie-Brown, Russell Hughes, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, Mackenzie Wark, Mary Ann Caws, David Kolb, Martin E. Rosenberg, Jondi Keane and, of course, Madeline Gins.

On the final day, a group of 40 participants visited Bioscleave House on Long Island. These NY events coincided with two major exhibitions in Japan.

These events were planned to coincide with two events in Japan: an exhibition of Arakawa’s early “coffin” works at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, (April to June 2010) and an exhibition of Arakawa and Gins work at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (May until June 2010).

How to proceed after a conference is done? Dine, reflect, expand; share findings. AG3 produced a hothouse for cross-pollination. Like the previous Arakawa and Gins conferences in Paris and Philadelphia, AG3 re-evaluates and focuses our understandings of and solutions to the intersection of scientific findings, social inquiry, and organizational structures. The present collection testifies to the scope and impact of a procedural approach that lay in the links explored through the perspectives and practices of the contributing authors. The papers selected for this special issue of Inflexions reflect the wide range of research that Arakawa and Gins’ work draws upon and influences across the arts, sciences and humanities.

Throughout this collection, readers will find that ethical concerns raised by the authors point to ways in which otherness emerges and dissolves through the fluctuations in the organism-person-environment. All that emerges, whether foreseen or unanticipated, must be given room to operate. By exploring the extent of ‘person’ through the work of Arakawa and Gins, new dimensions to inter-subjectivity may allow our most basic efforts to think, feel, say and act in the world to reconfigure.

The papers collected here assist us in refocusing interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approaches to the observation, study and transformation of embodied approaches for collective concerns. Arakawa and Gins’ project, in this regard, is the most advanced and inclusive, addressing the human question in both practical and theoretical ways while resisting the tendency to separate out certain ideas or methods for special consideration. Each aspect of their practice tests our seriousness, challenges our commitment and implicates us in a history of acquiescence.

continue reading the introduction here.