Cabin Fever traces the course of the cabin in Canada and the United States—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 an anxious state of mind 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.
Building structures like the ones at home, living in exactly the same manner, must also have been a way to master their fear of the unknown, not to be overwhelmed by it, a way to make the unfamiliar seem familiar.
Karl Ove Knausgaard, "My Saga—Part 1" included in Cabin Fever
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 twenty selected buildings that collectively 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 of Cabin Fever 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.
23.65 x 17 cm
Published by Information Office with The Vancouver Art Gallery 2018