• [Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Art and Architecture Academy]
Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Art and Architecture Academy
Two Cubes
An architectural collaboration with Shinichi Ogawa
I.A.V.A Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Art and Architecture Academy, 1999
Publication:Noriyuki Tsuji (ed.), Cube/Document, A.I.A.V. Akiyoshidai, Japan 2000.
Drawing a Shadow
Alan Johnston

As a collaboration these two Cubes, in Western Japan, one white the other glass, regroup the Modern in a shadow of the ‘Formlos’ with the North being brought to the South through the East, a circumnavigatory journey in perceptive cognition, a kind of formless tactility built as neutral perceptibles . So within view at Akiyoshidai the two cubes reflect a clarity of asymmetry, as line reflects a modern void, each of the drawn lines cast a shadow of a delicate yet severe tension, a tension of a perceptive concentration at the edge of the visual : they also relate to an internal architectural discipline in an absolutist Humean sense. An absolutist commitment to the tension of the reductive, the reflective metaphor of glass, that mirror, that metaphor, reconfigured.

Let us summarise the point Rorty and Derrida are making...............This is the only looking-glass by which we can, in some measure,  with eyes of other people, scrutinise the propriety of our own conduct. Here we find the metaphor of light and the looking-glass which are ruled out by Derrida and by Rorty as self-evidently nonsense, and we find that like Smith, Hume too has recourse to the same analogy when he is trying to clear up the relations of language and of consciousness.” The minds of men are mirrors to one another.............................only in so far as they are accompanied by a reflection, of which custom renders us insensible”.

Mirroring a Formlos unalienated space. That Formlessness, which in the context of collaboration has brought from the artist and architect a collaborative and active mode, that has ,

“...more heavily invested the subject, not with meaning, but with that which goes beyond and is more significant than meaning"

However within the geophysical circumstance, it is not that simple hybrid, of a European - Modernist idiom and Oriental simplicity. There are deep indigenous circumstances and other factors which in a sense register its origins in perhaps an older movement of the anthropological and hence ideological.

On one level there is a sort of wide ranging peregrinatio, from a Western Atlantic Archipelagic periphery, through the central European mass, to Japan. This was described by  Kenneth White, as to the practice, as a culmination of a notion of Askesis, to the abandoning of oneself to the winds of god, a moving from the grid, the distorted cartographic mind set that we are accustomed to see through. Perhaps the notion of a grid is too utilitarian anyway, we need a more worldly dimension, with even a more local reading of it.

It is this broadening of the boundaries of interpretation beyond the accepted mores of the matrix of ‘used’ form that the project ‘Two Cubes’  explores. It has brought insight and broader definition to the supposed genesis of the modern idea. Indeed the very nature of its definition has changed, there is in a way a viable morphology now, of the void, or of the ‘Formlos’.

If one follows the nature of influence in an artist like John McLaughlin, ‘ a great scholar of the void, ’’  one finds the west locked in the east, (as perhaps is, the quotation from Bataille mentioned earlier). The “ content without content ”; they aimed at an unparticulararized space of free-floating consciousness; McLaughlin in fact, spoke of his work as “nothing more or less than the approach  to the understanding of [everyman’s] relationship to nature.” And if one cannot literally or even cabalistically collapse---since representation alone is no longer enough--the full complexity of that relationship into a single work, then art must be transformed into an “approach,” or into a living but also flawlessly neutral vehicle”.

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