The tent represents an experimental and existential form of life and habitat, oscillating between an always-possible departure and an often uncertain arrival. It is being associated with adventure and independence, but also with non-belonging, displacement, and being exposed. As a temporally finite accommodation and architecture, it can create refuge in the unlikeliest places, from the wilderness to urban wastelands.
The tent’s mobile construction is assembled from struts and ropes and covered with sheets or tarp. The skin of the tent works as a membrane, impermeable and permeable alike, which brings humans and environment into a relation to one another.
Life in the tent provides transitory protection and comfort, but also offers the possibility to roam and escape a current life. Camping evokes ideas of freedom, nomadic existence, and a modest way of life. It is also associated with camping holidays, campfires, and horrible showers, yet also with thrill seekers and nature freaks, harbouring an aversion against civilization and a technologically saturated present age.
In literature, the tent is often the scene of an extraordinary event, extreme actions, the transfer site of fate and a place for introspection. The ICI Library Event A Tentation will explore different aspects of the tent in the context of the ICI’s current research focus ERRANS environ/s. It will consist of a staged reading delving into the manifold ways of literary camping.
ICI Fellows will read excerpts from Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx, Cheryl Strayed, Antje Rávik Strubel, (translated by Zaia Alexander), Francesco Giusti, and others.