A Walk through the ARAKAWA/GINS Exhibition
The City as the Art Form of the Next Millennium
Where did you first go in that space? Did you climb the slope extending from left and right walls ? Or where the urban model was, in the center? Or perhaps when you first entered, on your immediate left hand side, did you read the comments by the creators ? Or maybe....?
Maybe you haven't even come to see the show yet. Well, if that's the case, then by all means come with me! You can walk the path I followed. As though riding in a taxi, ride in my body, and see the show!
Once I'd seen the show, I decided to write in as clear a language as possible about the experience. It seems only fitting.
It was just like an insect's nest, or maybe a specimen of a human brain, or maybe the veins of a leaf? It was a model that was at once orderly yet alive, making me not a little dizzy.
A moment of giddiness.
And if that is so, I thought, and headed up the slope away from the model. "Up there, I can be just one of the audience." I aimed for what I had decided was the safety zone. Yet, as I headed up the green slope which so resembled the hill, step by step, up the soft surface which so resembled the earth, I was overtaken again by an uneasy sensation. I was struck by ambivalence. One sensation was like a deja vu. "I've been up this hill before...." And it is true. Moments before, while looking at the model, I had imagined this very experience. I still had the image of slowly climbing that slope. The feeling of my feet sinking into the turf. I was precisely in the very footsteps of my own imagined experience. Or maybe no, perhaps my walking here now was the more virtual experience. The physical sense of myself walking up that slope was that of being suspended between the worlds of image and actuality. Everything else was like arbitrary cloud cover enveloping my senses.
Another thing I noticed was that even though I had climbed this hill in order to stand among the spectators at the scene, my sense of being observed had not diminished a whit. This, too, was a feeling of my nerves frothing over at the nakedness of my subconsciousness, liberated, yet defenseless and so plainly in view. But who is it that is looking at me walk up this hill? The one so lasciviously, unabashedly oogling the scene? Why, that's me, of course. Here again, it is I (imaging the stroll while looking at the model) gazing (from the top of the slope) back down on myself.
A multilayered combination mutually inclusive structure. Inversion follows inversion. One sees one seeing oneself. And this down deep into the depths of the unconscious. It is as if this was a clever contraption
for making my subjective self refocus a spotlight on myself through my consciousness.
As I thought of this, the unease that I had been feeling slipped away. And at the same time, my heart became light. "Here, Imight as well live in a way that makes a play of me." A completely free, thrilling perceptual adventure. Here, a space that hadn't existed anywhere before had appeared. A "daily life space" which is a cohabitation as the city, as art, and as myself.
Feeling dynamic, I made my way out of that space.
[During the term of the exhibition, The ICC Theater featured showing of the films ĀŠWhy Not (A Serenade of Eschatological Ecology)Ā‚ (1969) and ĀŠFor Example (A Critique of Never)Ā‚ (1971) by the artists, ARAKAWA Shusaku and Madeline GINS.]
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