Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition explores the evolution of the cabin


Ken Issacs “Build a Vacation Cluster,” Popular Sciences, July 1972. Photo Melissa Shaw

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s (VAG) summer exhibition Cabin Fever explores the history and cultural meaning of the North American cabin.

Arc’teryx has also partnered with the VAG to bring a virtual reality storytelling experience called Arc’teryx Hut Magic to the gallery lobby on June 9 and 10 for Cabin Fever’s opening weekend.

The exhibition explores the cabin through three main themes: shelter, utopia and porn.

North Pacific Workers’ Housing, Port Edward, B.C. 1889 – Goodweather Studio

Shelter looks at the cabin as practical lodging, utopia examines the cabin as an ideal locale for introspection and porn positions the cabin as fully integrated into popular culture referencing the popular Cabin Porn website and book.

La Petite Maison du Weekend – Patkau Architects Photo Melissa Shaw

The idea for this exhibition originated from independent curator and writer Jennifer M. Volland, says VAG director Kathleen S. Bartels.

Volland explains that over the past decade there has been a revived interest in the cabin that “has ironically grown with our addiction to technology.”

“As we as a culture have become more interconnected there is this opposite impulse to disengage and disconnect,” she says.

Richard Johnson – Ice Village #14

At the same time, she says websites such as Cabin Porn, Pinterest and Instagram now allow people an experience of the cabin that is “solely virtual or through images.”

The exhibition includes architectural models, drawings, art installations, photography, historical documents, literature, video and ephemera.

Cabin Fever is on display from June 9 to September 30 at the VAG and fits in with Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s Kobe Log Paper House on display at the gallery’s offsite location at 1100 West Georgia Street.

Cabin Horror Remix – Editing: Tommy Richardson, Set Design: Justina Bohach Photo Melissa Shaw
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Melissa is a reporter at Vancouver Is Awesome and has worked primarily in radio and online media. She grew up in Ontario, went to school in Halifax and worked in Northern B.C. before moving to Vancouver. If you've got a story to share email: