Madeline Gins

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Madeline Gins
Madeline Gins 2009.jpg
Madeline Gins in 2009
Madeline Helen Gins

(1941-11-07)November 7, 1941
New York City
DiedJanuary 8, 2014(2014-01-08) (aged 72)
New York City
Known forArtist, architect, poet

Madeline Helen Arakawa Gins (November 7, 1941 – January 8, 2014) was an American artist, architect and poet.


Gins was born in New York City and studied physics and Eastern philosophy at Barnard College.[1]

Gins met her partner and later husband, artist Shusaku Arakawa, in 1963. One of their earlier collaborations, "The Mechanism of Meaning", was shown in its entirety at the 1997 Guggenheim exhibition, Arakawa/Gins – Reversible Destiny/We Have Decided Not to Die.

In 1987, as a means of financing the design and construction of works of architecture (that draw on The Mechanism of Meaning), Arakawa and Gins founded the Reversible Destiny Foundation. The Foundation actively collaborates with practitioners in a wide range of disciplines including, experimental biology, neuroscience, quantum physics, experimental phenomenology, and medicine. Their architectural projects included residences (Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa), Reversible Destiny Lofts (In memory of Helen Keller) – Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan), parks (Site of Reversible Destiny-Yoro) and plans for housing complexes and neighborhoods (Reversible Destiny Fun House, BOOM-LGBT Community, Isle of Reversible Destiny-Venice and Isle of Reversible Destiny-Fukuoka, Sensorium City, Tokyo).[2]

She and Arakawa "lost their life savings" to the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.[1][3]


On March 18, 2010, Arakawa died, after a week of hospitalization. Gins would not state the cause of death. "This mortality thing is bad news," she stated. She planned to redouble efforts to prove "aging can be outlawed."[4]

On January 8, 2014, Gins died of cancer at age 72.[5]

Reversible Destiny Foundation[edit]

Arakawa and Gins cofounded the Reversible Destiny Foundation, an organization dedicated to the use of architecture to extend the human lifespan. They have co-authored books, including Reversible Destiny, which is the catalogue of their Guggenheim exhibition, Architectural Body (University of Alabama Press, 2002), and Making Dying Illegal (New York: Roof Books, 2006), and have designed and built residences and parks, including the Reversible Destiny Lofts, Bioscleave House, and the Site of Reversible Destiny–Yoro.[citation needed]


Architectural works by Arakawa and Gins[edit]

Books by Arakawa and Gins[edit]

  • The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had To Use My Words. Catskill: Siglio Press, 2020. ISBN 978-1-938221-24-8
  • Making Dying Illegal, Architecture Against Death: Original to the 21st Century. (in collaboration with Arakawa). New York: Roof Books, 2006 ISBN 978-1-931824-22-4; Tokyo: Shunjusha, 2007.
  • Le Corps Architectural (in collaboration with Arakawa). Paris: Editions Manucius, 2005 ISBN 978-2-84578-049-1.
  • Architectural Body (in collaboration with Arakawa). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002 ISBN 978-0-8173-1168-1.
  • Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not to Die (in collaboration with Arakawa), Guggenheim Catalog, New York: Abrams, Inc. (1997) ISBN 0-8109-6902-5.
  • ARCHITECTURE: Sites of Reversible Destiny (Architectural Experiments after Auschwitz-Hiroshima) (in collaboration with Arakawa). London: Academy Editions (1994) ISBN 1-85490-279-2.
  • Helen Keller or Arakawa. Santa Fe: Burning Books with East/West Cultural Studies (1994) ISBN 978-0-936050-11-9.
  • Pour ne pas mourir. To Not To Die (in collaboration with Arakawa). Paris: Editions de la Différence (1987) ISBN 2-7291-0250-7.
  • What the President Will Say and Do!! Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press (1984) ISBN 0-930794-92-3.
  • Mechanismus der Bedeutung. The Mechanism of Meaning (in collaboration with Arakawa; intro by Lawrence Alloway). Munich: Bruckmann (1971) ISBN 3-7654-1439-5; New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1979, 2nd edition) ISBN 0-8109-0667-8; New York: Abbeville Press (1988; 3rd edition) ISBN 0-89659-809-8.
  • For Example (A Critique of Never) (in collaboration with Arakawa). Milan: Alessandra Castelli Press (1974)
  • Intend. Bologna: Tau/ma (1973)
  • Word Rain (or A Discursive Introduction to the Philosophical Investigation of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says). New York: Grossman/Viking (1969)

Essays by Gins[edit]

  • '"The Architectural Body – Landing Sites" (in collaboration with Arakawa), Space in America: Theory History Culture (eds Benesch, Klaus; Schmidt, Kerstein; Fall 2005) ISBN 978-0-8173-1169-8
  • '"LIVING BODY Museum", Cities Without Citizens (2003), pp. 243–57 ISBN 978-0-9714848-4-9
  • '"Gifu-Reversible Destiny" (in collaboration with Arakawa), Architectural Design, Games of Architecture (1996), pp. 27–35
  • '"Housing Complexity" (in collaboration with Arakawa), Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts, No. 6 (1995), pp. 88–95
  • '"Landing Sites/The End of Spacetime" (in collaboration with Arakawa), Art and Design (May–June 1993)
  • '"Person as Site in Respect to a Tentative Constructed Plan" (in collaboration with Arakawa). ANYWHERE (1992), pp. 54–67
  • The Tentative Constructed Plan as Intervening Device for a Reversible Destiny (in collaboration with Arakawa) A+U: Architecture and Urbanism (December 1991), pp. 48–57.
  • '"The Process in Question," Critical Relations. Highgate Art Trust, (editor) Joan Burns, Williamstown, Massachusetts (1989)
  • '"To Return To!" (in collaboration with Arakawa), Marcel Duchamp and the Avant-Garde Since 1950. Köln: Ludwig Museum (1988)
  • 'Essay on Multi-Dimensional Architecture" (selections published in Boundary 2, Fall 1985/Winter 1986, and Pratt Architectural Journal, Spring 1988)
  • '"Forum: Arakawa's The Sharing of Nameless, 1982–83," DRAWING, Jan.-Feb. 1985, pp. 103–04

About Arakawa and Gins[edit]


  • Architecture and Philosophy: New Perspectives on the Work of Arakawa & Madeline Gins. Architecture – Technology – Culture. Jean-Jacques Lecercle and Françoise Kral, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010 ISBN 978-90-420-3189-0.
  • On Architecture, Fred Rush, New York: Routledge, 2009., pp. 47–52 ISBN 978-0-415-39618-9.
  • Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media, Mark B. N. Hansen, CRC Press, 2006. pp. 183–191, 219–220 ISBN 978-0-203-94239-0; New York, London: Routledge, 2006 ISBN 0-415-97016-4.
  • Architectures of Poetry, María Eugenia Díaz Sánchez, Craig Douglas Dworkin, Rodopi, 2004, pp. 77–89 ISBN 90-420-1892-5.
  • Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print, ed. Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux and Neil Fraistat. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002, pp. 123–48, 178–85 ISBN 0-299-17380-1.


  • Charles Bernstein, "What Happens When the Artists Drops Away", Hyperallergic, May 11, 2014
  • Andrew Levy. "Biotopology with No Annual Fee", New York: ON: Contemporary Practice (2008), pp. 65–77.
  • Daniel Ross, "Passages to Immortality: Arakawa and Gins, Stiegler, and September 11", Reconstruction (November 2, 2011)
  • Jean-Francois Lyotard. Que Peindre?, Adami, Arakawa, Buren. Paris: Hermann Editeurs (2008)
  • R. Klanten, L. Feireiss. Eds. Strike a Pose: Eccentric Architecture and Spectacular Spaces (September 2008)
  • Jondi Keane and Evan Selinger. "Architecture and *'Philosophy: Refelections on Arakawa and Gins". Footprint (Autumn 2008)
  • Fred Bernstein. "A House Not for Mere Mortals", New York Times (April 2008)
  • 'J. Keane. "Exert Yourself in Wholly Other Ways", Kerb (2007–08)
  • 'J. Keane. "Situating Situatedness through Æffect and the Architectural Body of Arakawa and Gins", Janus Head, (Winter/Spring Issue 2007, 9.2), pp. 437–57
  • Florentine Sack. Open House: Towards a New Architecture (2006), pp. 131–43
  • "Design Innovation House: Reversible Destiny Lofts", Archiworld (2006)
  • Mari Hashimoto. "How to Live in Reversible Destiny Lofts with Directions for Use", Casa Brutus (February 2006)
  • 'Yoshihio Sano. "The trial to cross-over", Japan Architect (February 2006)
  • Lawrence B. Nagy. "Parcours vita a domicile", Le Monde (February 26, 2006)
  • Tomoko Otake. "Home sweet: 'death-defying' condo homes", The Japan Times (January 15, 2006)
  • Takeshi Matsuda. "Closeup: Building a Residence with Tubes, Spheres and Cubes", Nikkei Architecture (May 2, 2005)
  • Joel David Robinson. "From Clockwork Bodies to Reversible Destinies (On the Architectural Experiments of Arakawa and Gins)", Art Papers (March/April 2005)
  • Lisa Licitra Ponti. "Arakawa + Gins. Living Bodies", Domus 879 (March 2005)
  • Susan Stewart. "On the Art of the Future." The Chicago Review (Winter 2004–05)
  • Karen MacCormack. "Mutual Labyrinth: A Proposal of Exchange", Architectures of Poetry (eds. Dworkin, Craig Douglas; Díaz Sanchez, María Eugenia). Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004
  • 'Michel Delville. "How Not to Die in Venice: The Art of Arakawa and Madeline Gins", Architectures of Poetry (eds Dworkin, Díaz Sanchez). Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004
  • 'Michelle Delville. "How Not to Die in Venice: The Art of Arakawa and Madeline Gins" Reading the Illegible (Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies) (editor C. Dworkin), Northwestern University Press, Chicago, Illinois (2003)
  • David Kolb. Review of Architectural Body. Continental Philosophy Review, 2003
  • Patrick Pardo. "Regarding the Lives of Human Snails: Arakawa/Gins and the Architectural Body", Daily NY Arts Newsletter, May 15, 2003, p. 1
  • Aaron Kunin. "Stay Alive: Gins and Arakawa vs. The Grim Reaper", The Village Voice (January 15–21, 2003)
  • Joel David Robinson. Review of Architectural Body. Parachute (April 5, 2003)
  • Geraldine McKenzie. Review of Architectural Body. How2 (Spring 2003)
  • Jean-Michel Rabaté, ed. "Architecture Against Death Architecture" Interfaces (21–22) A + G (Special Double Issue, Fall 2003)
  • 'Mary Ann Caws. "Taking Textual Time" Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print (ed. Loizeaux, Elizabeth Bergmann; Fraistat, Neil). University of Wisconsin Press (2002)
  • Charles Bernstein. "Every Which Way But Loose" Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print (ed. Loizeaux, Elizabeth Bergmann; Fraistat, Neil). University of Wisconsin Press (2002)
  • Arthur C. Danto. "Arakawa-Gins", The Nation (August 11–18, 1997), pp. 31–34; reprinted in 2000 in The Madonna of the Future: Essays in a Pluralistic Art World, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2000), pp. 265–272
  • 'Samira Kawash. "Bodies at Risk- The Architecture of Reversible Destiny", PAJ 59 (1998), pp. 17–27
  • 'Tom McEvilley. "Arakawa and Gins at the Guggenheim Soho", Art in America (January 1998), pp. 100–01
  • Mark Amerika. "Astrophysical Grammatology – Helen Keller or Arakawa", American Book Review, February–March 1996, Vol. 17, No. 3, p. 18
  • Gendai Shiso. The Journal of Contemporary Thought, Tokyo (August 1996, devoted to the work of Arakawa/Gins)
  • Serge Gavronsky. "Dot Lamour", Witz, A Journal of Contemporary Poetics, Winter 1994, Volume III, No. 1
  • 'Mary Ann Caws. "Madeline Gins- Helen Keller or Arakawa." Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts, no. 6, Complexity, 1995, p. 96
  • Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee, "Meaning the Meaning: Arakawa's Critique of Space." Content's Dream: Essays 1975–1984, Sun & Moon Press; 184–195
  • 'Robert Creeley. "Someplace Enormously Moveable" – The Collaboration of Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Art Forum, Vol. 18 (Summer 1980), pp. 60–65.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Madeline Gins – obituary". The Telegraph. March 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "Procedural Architecture". Archived from the original on July 2, 2014.
  3. ^ Efrati, Amir (March 24, 2009). "Couple's Dreams of Immortality at Death's Door, Thanks to Madoff: Artists Who Design Homes to Prolong Life Lost Their Life Savings; Undulating Floors". Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Berstein, Fred A. (March 20, 2010). "Arakawa, Whose Art Tried to Halt Aging, Dies at 73". Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "Madeline Arakawa Gins, Visionary Architect, Dies at 72", The New York Times, January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.

External links[edit]