Daddy, Why do things have outlines? Constructing the Architectural Body

Arakawa and Madeline Gins’s book, The Architectural Body both forwards and performs a radical relation of indiscernibility between the embodied performance of the inhabitant and their architectural or built surrounds. This paper will explore the conceptual and architectural composition of the architectural body and suggest, after Gilles Deleuze and Benedict de Spinoza, that we do not yet know what this (architectural) body can do! In particular I will focus on the dialogue that Arakawa and Gins employ in The Architectural Body to demonstrate how the performing body-being and the transforming architectural surround cleave to one another to create another kind of atmospheric individual, a bioscleave, and by extension, a resituated concept of ecology. To explore the atmospheric ecologies at work in the concept of the architectural body and/or the bioscleve, I will place two further conceptual scenes alongside that offered in Arakawa and Gins book: The first scene is another dialogue, Metalogue: Why do Things have outlines? from Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind, and the second scene is that in which Deleuze describes the active procedure of the diagram where he writes Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. The aim of drawing these three scenes together is to investigate what unfolds at the threshold between the exfoliating body and the architectural surround, what happens when they approach, embrace and withdraw again? Arakawa and Gins describe their architectural hypothesis as a tentative constructing toward a holding in place, and through this very tentativeness they also forward an ethics, even an ethico-aesthetics. The three scenes I propose to gather here will enable me to provisionally frame what the precarious and embodied outline of this ethico-aesthetics as a savoir-faire or ethical know-how as immediate quotidian coping might be.

“Daddy, Why do things have outlines? Constructing the Architectural Body” in Inflections online journal,  (2013).

First presented as a paper:

“Daddy, Why do Things have Outlines?: Constructing the Architectural Body” in AG3 (Arakawa and Gins Third International Conference),