The following letter has been written by French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard to Arakawa and Madeline Gins in 1997. Their answer is readable in the fantastic book Reversible Destiny: We have decided not to Die published by the Guggenheim Museum in the same year.
Could one perhaps call your antidestiny architecture “antibiography”?
Would the distribution of time between beginning and end be neutralized?
Would the possibilities reserved for childhood remain open in every circumstance? Might they even multiply? Could the body be younger at sixty years of age than at fifteen?
The body would no longer inhabit a dwelling that grew old along with it. It would no longer inhabit a dwelling that grew old along with it. It would no longer be dedicated to adapting itself to constant volumes –a door here, a chair there, an ear here, a pair of knees there. Would it space begin anew each day?
Instantaneous habits would come and go. Affectionately, energetically. Would architecture summon energy and affection to inhabit the body?
Would it be futile to build concepts? Could one write or draw through encounters. Straight from nothingness?
The three children playing hide-and-seek in this house as I ask you these questions reverse the destinies of the beds, the tables, the rooms, ignoring the assigned purposes of each. Laughter, shouts, silence, vehemence, foot-stamping, breathlessness –is this, in fact, similar to the task your architecture expects of us, dear Madeline, dear Arakawa?
January 1st 1997
Translated from the French, by Stephen Sartarelli.
Arakawa/Gins. Reversible Detiny.New York: Guggenheim Museum Publication 1997.