We have been digging into the world of  Arakawa and Gins. This is an glossary (in progress) of some of the basic vocabulary of them:

Landing sites –

Landing sites are used (by Gins and Arakawa) to describe the way attention operates and to simultaneously map the way these attentions come to know themselves and situate the body, albeit tentatively, within an environment. It is not “it” and it is not “you” but the energy or relationship between “you” and “it”. It is was catches your attention, what makes you aware an able to act, be, feel…

Were nothing being apportioned out, no world could form. What is being apportioned out, no one is able to say. That which is being apportioned out is in the process of landing.

—   Arakawa and Madeline Gins

You may say it is where you “land” – what draws your interest and shapes your understanding in a space. The cluster that makes it “meaningful”, “interesting”, “graspable”, etc.  It is more than a perspective. They make you present and able to grasp the world.

You look at a forest and you see a forest. Then a tree choses you, or you chose the tree. And you are drawn towards this.

Landing sites operate on three levels or scales that are singular to themselves yet also overlap simultaneously, slipping seamlessly into and out of each another. These are “perceptual,” “imaging” and “dimensionalising” landing sites.

Perceptual landing sites

Perceptual landing sites are what grab attention in the immediate; the object in front of you, the text on a page, the nearness of anything that is so proximate as to be right there in the here and now. It is what just appear to you! It is the perception of the world in shapes and color, where shape and colors are experienced as just this. It is purely perceptual.
It is immediate and in direct response to probable existence.

Imaging landing sites

Imaging landing sites can be thought of as the next stage away from the perceptual, what’s happening later in the day, what’s going on just around the corner, what you can feel but can’t see, the not quite here and now but getting there as the pre-cursor to the perceptual.
It is an imagining relationship.
An example could be how the shower suddenly appears as teleport, the tree appears as monster, and so on…

An imaging landing site it that what gives you an idea about that site.

An inuition. What beeing in/with the site evokes.

Dimensionalising landing sites

A dimensionalising landing site is quite different from the imaging and perceptual landing sites, as it loosens and widens its cast of attention to draw in the bigger picture so to speak, even if the elements thereof are imperceptible in form and substance.

Dimentionaling landig sites = mapping.

A dimensionalizing landing site combines the qualities of the perceptual landing site and imaging landing site, and in so doing, simultaneously ranges narrowly/tightly and widely/diffusely.

Something that engineers depth and dimension.

A dimensionalising landing site registers location and position relative to the body. Building, assessing, and reading volume and dimension.

Architectural body –

A body that manages to produce

– the body proper.


Coordinology –

Organising of space and time. Coordinating logic.



First impressions of Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka


In the beginning the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA provoked me. Of all the colors, shapes and structures in the apartment – which one would get me to be more creative? Be younger?  Be Better?

My first impressions of Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka was a different feeling than the feeling I have now. At first, the strong color-contrasts and peculiar shapes of the rooms were provocative to me. Why I do not know. Maybe I will have an answer in a few days. I felt dizzy, was this the effect of jetlag or the really strong colors? I hunted for comfort.

Three days have gone by and I’m not dizzy anymore. At first it was uncomfortable. The structure, shapes etc. It’s strange what color can do to you and your focus. Now I have accepted and become more familiar with the place the unfamiliar colors, I have made the space “mine” using little things like hanging up clothes and my visible toothbrush at the sink. I lay tracks after me. Or was it for me? I have learned to see where in the room I want to see and I’m starting to think that I am becoming a super hero that has the power of choosing where I want to hold my focus… I am now taking in what I want to include. I take this tool with me when I trudge around in Tokyo, tools I can take with me back to Oslo…. Something that I can keep working on, getting even better at it. Comfort is found. It has given me a taste for more and now….  I will hunt for more tools.

– traces of me, clothes, my dresses my, my toothbrush…

Into the woods


I am outside the door. The floor is cold. There are sounds everywhere. Both near and distant. Birds integrate with the humming traffic, both of which are playing with the speed of sound. Slowing down and stopping, starting and moving again. A crow is surprisingly cutting through space as if its looking for action. It draws my attention and make me smile. Then I go towards the door, and stand in front of it. I “knock-knock-knock” in the most stereotypical way. I open the door, close my eyes and enter the space.

“WOW! Hello space. You have changed since the last time I saw you”.
I have completely lost my orientation! The bumpy floor has now become a steep hill. I struggle to keep my balance and get a bizarre sensation of climbing downhill from a mountain. Yet I know I am inside a room! The structure of sand on the floor, contains millions of details. And only a very few I am able to grasp. As I slowly carry on my “hike”, I meet all sorts of textiles, sharp edges, wires, poles, cold and warm surfaces (which in fact turned out to be my computer- haha), fake fur, patterns. All objects of which I in this space, with my eyes closed, somehow see as the “nature of things”. I am in the woods.

Following the guidelines of Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA

How are you choreographed?

How can I approach sensing the space without putting it in a certain time or shape.

The body is easily reduced.

Outside, trying to listen three-dimensionally I remember that I understand the sounds as a composition.

Inside the roughness of the floor under my feet is an opener to a world of sensing and creating sense. The meaning arises from the experience. I cannot move without reflecting on how I am choreographed, how the space guides me and how memory at the same time awaken a certain choreography. I am longing to set myself loose from judging movement and phases. I am very sensitive to my self-judgement and I keep coming back to how stupid society can make the body, the image of the body and how easy it is to be ironic instead of being. The aestethtics of being is complicated to enter without identifying it and feeling the fear. I try to move beyond fear and from addressing and identifying movement to experiencing the movement in itself.

I forgot that I could have been 100 or 4, but subconsciously I sometimes enter being four and sometimes I have the same compassion for myself inside my sensing body as I can have for an old person; a body that is full of experience. I notice when my body directly can approach its surroundings and move through space as a known landscape.

I can differ from when I identify the space as I remember to have seen it and when I remember it first – when I am there.

The architecture serves my body. The curve serves differently than the right angle wall, underneath my feet there is rough stones, bamboo mats, concrete.

I remember that when I met a pole there was something familiar, and then our previous talking of Miley Cirus sexual pole dancing and licking made my approach of the pole suddenly unfamiliar and bizarre.  When the instructions some time later reminded me of poles as trees I could again approach and let myself be touched by the pole without being culturally embarrassed by my behaviour.

The movement from the body differs from when ‘I’ do ; when I feel they are performed and when they are playfully alive and awake responds to ”each passing moment”, responding to the situation the environment serves me. When my body recognises a choreographic situation I am caught by the comtemporary discource of reducing and being ironic to the sensing body. The protest against the aesthetics of release and improvisational work in the body sometimes force on the body that it shouldn’t sense.

Is there a time for taking the body back again, and not needing to be responsible of the aesthetics it is producing. The image doesn´t give an imaginary experience. This text is already reducing the capacity of the body. There is still a struggle for language, but I will use every language I have available to understand and to be understood.

To allow rest.

To see with the eyes closed, how the light changes.

To see with my eyes open the meaning of using colours and contrast.

To be silent to Helen Keller.

To use silence without being afraid of making a statement through sounds.

To name something ‘Susan’ and then later The Museum of Unconditional Surrender; to remember that it is a subtitle of one of my favorite books which I never finish. And which I read in different cities, always starting from the beginning. To recognise that I am no longer writing to myself but to someone else. To you. To feel a bit embarrassed of the unwilling poetic, and therefor maybe cliché in the past sentence.

To resist making fool of the body

To feel that an on-going lifelong theme/ work/ project is arising. The choreographed body as not different from the architectural body and not different from the life choreographed. How does/did life choreograph you? How to investigate this with a deep compassion, an ease and not being afraid of sensing my whole body as once? Not being afraid of making form and appear foolish. Not being afraid of aesthetics that doesn’t feel cool. Not being afraid of identifying a movement or a response as authentic within its frame, situation and circumstance. Saying farewell to non-sensing, saying farewell to irony, saying farewell to coolness, welcoming  unconditional surrender.


First impressions of the yellow cocoon room

Monday the 21st of October I arrived at the Mitaka Reversible Destiny Lofts. With three hours alone in this structure I wandered around in the space. Not really sure where to be or what to do. Should I sit down? Should I explore the space? Should I rest? Should I work?  After wandering around for some time I was drawn into the yellow cocoon shaped room. I attached a hammock in the ceiling and took up my camera. I laid the camera on my stomach, imaging the camera to be the eyes of my stomach investigating this round room. After some time I fell to sleep…

Se video here:


Landing Sites schedule

Tentative Schedule for Landing Sites, Oct 20-28
Sunday 20th: Travel
Monday 21st:
Arrival at Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA. Getting settled.
20.00: Dinner – local sushi restaurant.
Tuesday 22nd:
10.oo-13.00  Breakfast meeting in Room 303/ Kehai Coordinating Unit
13.00-17.00 Collective work – exploring the Kehai Coordinating Unit via the instructions provided on how to be a loft inhabitant.
17.00- 19.00 Screening of  CHILDREN WHO WON’T DIE—A Documentary Film on Shusaku Arakawa. Directed by Nobu Yamaoka Music: Keiichiro Shibuya. Narration: Tadanobu Asano.
19.00 ——-> Welcome Party with Momoyo Homma, curator of the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA, Matsuda Takeyoshi and other residents.
Wednesday 23rd:
10.00 -11.00 Breakfast meeting in Room 202/ Critical Resemblance Room


13.00 – 17.00 Visit to Substitutional Reality Laboratory, Riken Brain Science Research Institute.
17.00 ——-> Free time/ have fun in the city
Thursday 24th:
10.00-11.00 Breakfast meetin in Room 303 Kehai Coordinating Unit
11.00-18.00 Open schedule/own projects
15.00-15.30 Visiting the roof top
18.00 —–> Artist Miyuki Kawamura and linguist Ryoko Uno visit us and present their work with a lecture about “Dancing Self Theory”. Dinner and discussions.
Friday 25th:
10.00-11.00 Breakfast meeting Room 202/ Critical Resemblance Room
12.00 —–> Open schedule/own work/optional screening of “For Example. A Critique of Never”, Arakawa and Gins, 1971
Saturday 26th:
10.00-11.00 Breakfast meeting Room 303 Kehai Coordinating Unit
12.00 —–> Open schedule/own work/logging
Sunday 27th:
10.00 – 12.00 Breakfast meeting in Room 202/ Critical Resemblance Room. Summing up, group discussion
12.00 – 19.30 Packing, clearing up, prepare space for evening talk, etc
16.30 —–> Ken Mogi talk Critical Resemblance Room Room 303, RDL
Monday 28th: Departure


Landing Sites

– a further-field pursuit of new tools for choreography

Amanda Steggell 2013


Research should no longer be done off to one side, in a school, a library or laboratory. Where one lives needs to become a laboratory for researching, for mapping directly, the living body itself, oneself as a world-forming inhabitant. (Arakawa and Gins)


I will travel with Solveig Styve Holte, Kathrine Fallmyr, Heidi Jessen (MA choreography) and Tormod Carlsen (MA theatre directing)  for a week’s residency/ field trip at the Reversible Destiny Lofts in Mitaka, a suburb of Tokyo. The lofts are  built by the artists and architects Arakawa and Gins. The residency is the first of a two-part workshop for exploring the body’s capacity to co-create event-spaces with any given environment.

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