MADELINE GINS /// Special Archival Podcast: How To “Not To Die”


This podcast is special as it is more of an homage than a conversation like the ones orchestrated for Archipelago. It is an excerpt of a recording — I apologize for the bad quality of the sound — I made in October 2011 with poet-artist-philosopher-architect Madeline Gins. She died on January 8, 2014 and it is not without emotion that I listened to this recording again. This conversation came after an exchange of letter that can be read on The Funambulist as preamble; we then had a conversation at the end of a day spent at the unique Bioscleave House designed by Gins and her late husband Shuzaku Arakawa, to incarnate an architecture for bodies “not to die.” The photographs below will certainly provide a useful complement to the recording for the listeners who are not familiar with the work of Gins and Arakawa .

Madeline Gins co-founded the Reversible Destiny Foundation in New York with Arakawa. Together they accomplished a five-decade long work that aims at the death of…death. The architecture created by the Reversible Destiny Foundation challenges the body in such a way that the latter continuously accomplishes the act of “not dying.” These buildings include Elliptical Field (Yoro, Japan), the Mitaka Lofts (Tokyo), the Bioscleave House (East Hampton, USA) and the Topological Scale-Juggling Escalator (New York).


– “A Conversation Between Two Puzzled Creatures [Part A]” on The Funambulist
– “A Conversation Between Two Puzzled Creatures [Part B]“on The Funambulist



– Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Sites of Reversible Destiny: Architectural Experiments After Auschwitz-Hiroshima, St Martins Press, 1994.
– Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not To Die, New York: Abrams, Inc., 1997.
– Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Architectural Body, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2002.
– Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Making Dying Illegal Architecture Against Death, New York: Roof Books, 2006.


– “Architectures of Joy: A Spinozist Reading of Parent/Virilio and Arakawa/Gins” (December 18, 2010)
– “Domesticity in the Reversible Destiny Architectural Terrains” (October 29, 2012)
– “Architectures of the Conatus: ‘Tentative Constructing Towards a Holding in Place” (April 10, 2013)
– “Reversible Destiny Lofts in Action: A Tentative Report From a Resident by Shingo Tsuji” (April 29, 2013)
– “‘All Men are Sisters’ : A Joy Named Madeline Gins” (January 10, 2014)