Daily Dose: Reversible Destiny

Add to TwitterYou probably sat through fifth-grade history lessons of Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth or maybe you’re familiar with the more modern version: Harry Potter’s Sorcerer’s Stone. Legends about objects that can impart eternal life to their beholders are many and varied across time and cultures. But have you ever heard of a house that can turn back time – or at least slow it down? Arakawa’s Bioscleave House is intended to do just that… in some very unusual ways.

Reversible Destiny homes in Mitaka, Japan. Image courtesy of Masatako Nakano

Above is an image of “reversible destiny” homes in Mitaka, Japan. Though their brightly-colored, unusually-shaped exteriors make them look like children’s playgrounds, they’re actually intended for aging adults. Arakawa and his wife Madeline Gins designed these homes as well as the new Bioscleave House in Long Island, NY. Inside the Bioscleave, a bumpy, undulating floor forces the occupants to use many different muscle groups to maintain their balance. The walls are painted in 40+ different colors, windows are placed at varying heights and wall fixtures appear at unexpected angles. What’s the point? To cheat death, according to Gins and Arakawa. Supposedly, the challenging – and sometimes dangerous – interior will keep residents from becoming complacent; for the artists, alertness is key to staying alive and young for as long as possible.

Interior of Bioscleave House, Long Island, NY. Image courtesy of Eric Striffler, NY Times.

“It’s immoral that people have to die,” or so says Gins. She and Arakawa have been exploring the possibilities of what they call “reversible destiny” through paintings, books and the built environment. They are constantly seeking ways to “reverse the downward course of human life,” which I take to mean the natural process of aging that eventually leads to death. Bioscleave House does look like a fun place to spend some time – and could do wonders as a physical therapy center – but may not be my first choice for a permanent residence.

Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase

Here’s an extra tidbit, just for fun: Arakawa claims that Marcel Duchamp was one of his patrons. Could be… the sensory-overloaded houses do remind me of the all-at-once movement of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase:

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Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/garden/03destiny.html?_r=1
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/reversible-destiny-house.php

Images:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/garden/03destiny.html?_r=1

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