From Stroll Garden to Stumble Park: Mapping Japan at Site of Reversible Destiny

Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, The University of Adelaide
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
De-Placing Difference: Architecture, Culture and Imaginative Geography, 2002, pp. 65 - 76
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Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins, have been feted in the architectural press for their "theme park of the soul", the Site of Reversible Destiny-Yoro in Gifu prefecture, Japan. The park, which shall be referred to as SRD, is the only realised project of several by the artists aimed at reversing destiny. Occupying 18 100 square metres and at a construction cost of over $USI4 million dollars in 1995, it is a significant work of public art, yet small compared with their Reversible Destiny/Sensorium City proposed for Tokyo Bay or the 365 gardens of Isle of Reversible Destiny for Venice. All are dwarfed by European theme parks in Japan such as Huis ten Boch (1992) whose ISO buildings, 6 kilometres of canal and 400 000 trees are designed to replicate an entire Dutch town. The reversible destiny projects, though, outweigh all contemporary architectural proposals in ambition since they are conceived as mechanisms for achieving immortality. The artists intend the physical and perceptual disorientation of their audiences in the belief that this can lead to fundamental changes in mental habits, including the habit of dying.
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