If you`ve ever wondered what it would be like to return to the days of exploration and learning as a toddler, then this outdoor art and architectural installation area may be the place to go.
This museum of sorts is the project work of international artist and architects Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins who say that changing physical sensations can change consciousness so they decided to explore and build architecture as a means of transforming their bodies, overcoming death and reversing their destiny. Hence the name of the place!
Site of Reversible Destiny is located within Yōrō Park in Gifu Prefecture. Yōrō is the closest station for those without a car and so I went there recently ready for it opening it`s doors at 9am. I took the 8:23 am train from Ogaki which arrived 24 minutes later at Yōrō Station; a quaint little station on the private Yōrō Railway. It was 420 yen one way.
From the station it was a 16 minute walk uphill to Yōrō Park and one of the arty installations was soon visible. There didn`t seem to be any gaps in the fence so I wandered round and round until I entered the park and eventually found the reception. I didn`t know it at the time but that little fence was actually the perimeter for this outdoor museum. Luckily I didn`t jump over it then as I did consider it a couple of times!
I paid 770 yen ($7) to enter which in hindsight was probably a little too expensive for what was on offer. It was indeed a cool place but I guess I was expecting a bit more for my money as it didn`t take me so long to explore the maze-like trails among colourful pavilions and grassy hills.
A picture of Reversible Destiny Office Yōrō was what initially brought this place to my attention so naturally I gravitated towards that first. Fringed with beautiful mountain scenery, this building is probably the one for the Instagram generation to saviour most!
The interior is something like a trick art museum with a fairly simple maze to navigate whilst keeping your balance as there is no concept of horizontalness inside this building. In fact that is the case for the whole park apart from the entrance buildings and toilet.
Critical Resemblance House was next and nowhere was it more apparent that horizontal and vertical lines had been eliminated as much as possible in this park. This building was the one where your sense of balance was well and truly lost.
It`s fun to walk through and experience all manner of spaces whether they be tall, short or tight. It may be difficult to see in the pictures below but the corridors, walls and flooring is all structured to be restrictive and so uneven that it really takes you back to the state of being a toddler and reconstructing your perceptions, as happened when we started to take our first few steps in this world.
This site opened in 1995 and is slightly decaying in places but that adds to the charm for me. Some of the works are difficult to understand for non-arty people like me but I was still able to really enjoy the place.
I probably could`ve spent a bit more time there but I had basically done what I needed to so decided to just hop over the fence (it saved me going round the long way to exit) and save myself five-ten minutes. A slightly quicker stride than usual and I was back at Yoro Station to take an earlier train back to Ogaki which would give me a bit of time there to get something to eat rather than having a very quick and pressurised transit.
- Site of Reversible Destiny is located at 1298-2 Takabayashi, Yoro, Yoro-Gun, Gunma-ken. It is open from 9am till 5pm everyday except for Mondays when it`s closed.
Bonus: I first encountered the Reversible Destiny name at this condominium complex in western Tokyo and UK TV presenter Jonathan Ross did actually retweet it with a comment but I just can`t find that on Twitter! It honestly did happen though!
Reversible Destiny Lofts were built by architects/artists Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins. They are located at 2-2-8 Osawa, Mitaka-ku, Tokyo.
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