We just launched a new Singularum site. You should check it out: www.singularum.com
We also posted a new Call for Papers, on the work of Arakawa and Gins: Kojin Karatani begins his landmark, *Architecture as Metaphor*, with the following thesis: "Western thought is marked by a will to architecture that is reiterated and renewed at times of crisis." From Plato to Descartes, to Hegel and Kierkegaard, Karatani asserts that philosophers have, "returned over and again to architectural figures and metaphors as a way of grounding and stabilizing their otherwise unstable philosophical systems."
Architectural terms, Karatani continues, have become fundamental to the way we shape, theorize and ultimately construct, philosophical systems. "It is thus not coincidental," Karatani insists, "that we give the name deconstruction to a movement that attempts to undermine metaphysics as it has developed from Plato." Deconstruction, in its own right, has permeated our philosophical, cultural, and architectural lexicon in rich and unexpected ways.
Highly aware of the history in which they operate, Arakawa and Gins contend that, "philosophical puzzles cannot be solved short of a thorough architectural reworking." The point is not that architecture serves as a metaphor for philosophy, then, but rather, that "architecture is the greatest tool available to our species, both for figuring itself out and for constructing itself differently." Arakawa and Gins have been posing this challenge, or should we call it a test, to our species, since at least the *Mechanism of Meaning* (1988)- which can be viewed as the catalyst for architectural procedures, paving the way for everything since, and arguabl before.
Architecture, invariably at the service of the body, has a unique ability to alter, not only our constitution, but also our awareness, body-wide and beyond. "Features of the architectural surround," explain Arakawa and Gins, "prompt the body to act." It's not so much a philosophical therapeutics, as the positing of a creation of an aesthetics of existence. Make your life a work of art, inspire Arakawa and Gins. Constantly, perpetually and indefinitely. How to practice? Well, that's the fun part! Develop and experiment with architectural procedures, exercises and activities that are truly playful. Of course, it will take take work and persistence. At last, the body, and all that comprises it - the puzzles and riddles of existence, to be sure - is finally taken into full consideration.
While it could be said that Plato envisioned architecture as a figure of philosophy, Arakawa and Gins, in the mode of reversible destiny, suggest that philosophy is a figure of architecture. Where they agree with Karatani is in the affirmation that philosophy always turns to architecture in "times of crisis." What is the current crisis? It's the same it has always been, suggest Arakawa and Gins. It's a pressing, immanent crisis. It's a matter of life and death. We must learn, at long last, inspire Arakawa and Gins, to overcome our seemingly mortal condition. "That mortality has been the prevailing condition throughout the ages does not mean it will always have to be." How can mortality be overcome? How do we reverse our destiny? Through architecture.
There are at least two ways to read the work of Arakawa and Gins. As they themselves note, "Reversible destiny was our first step into a crisis ethics. What if it turned out that to be mortal was not an essential condition of our species? To repeat in a slightly different way what people are so unused to hearing: What if it turned out that members of our species were not forever slated to be mortal? Another way to read reversible destiny - a less radical way, but for some people, we are given to understand, a perhaps less terrifying and therefore more inviting way - is as an open challenge to our species to reinvent itself and to desist from foreclosing on any possibility, even those our contemporaries judge to be impossible."
We envision this volume of Singularum as prompting, at long last, those radical interpretations. We welcome submissions of any format and of any medium and bent. We are particularly interested in those committed to fortifying and extending the work of Arakawa and Gins. With this candid, generous examination into their body of work, we hope not only to support the transhumans, but also come to understand and better appreciate the promise of Arakawa and Gins.
The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2013.