Cabin Fever traces the course of the cabin in North America―from the simple architecture of colonial settlements to contemporary interpretations feverishly circulated across the Internet―showing how this humble architectural form has been appropriated for its symbolic value and helped shape a larger cultural identity.
The title is borrowed from the idiomatic expression for anxiety resulting from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place. But it also plays upon the more consumer-driven definition of "fever": a contagious, usually transient, fascination with an object of desire. Acknowledging the pervasive influence of this typology, Cabin Fever offers a historical survey of the cabin in North America over the past three centuries. Heavily illustrated, it is composed of a selection of notable literature, excerpted texts and iconic images that chronicle the long history of writing and visual documentation of the cabin.
The publication follows a tripartite structure―Shelter, Utopia and Porn―that maps the formal evolution of the cabin typology within a changing set of social and cultural desires. Additional content includes a typological narrative of 20 buildings that trace the development of the cabin from rudimentary shelter to technologically sophisticated retreat and a survey of art that recognizes the cabin as a subject with enduring and complex connotations. Highlights include the work and writings of Edward Abbey, Margaret Atwood, James Benning, W.E.B. DuBois, Walker Evans, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorothea Lange, Michael Pollan, Rudolph Schindler, Julius Shulman and Henry David Thoreau, among many others.
Vancouver Art Gallery, 2018
Hardcover, 320 pages
7 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches