The leisure cabin, located in the mountains, in the forests, or by the sea, is a culturally and materially significant phenomenon in Norway. Since the 1960s in particular, Norwegians have sought out a cabin to spend time in nature and enjoy leisure activities away from their regular everyday life. This has not happened without considerable contestation over both the impact of cabins on nature and on what a cabin should look like and how it should function. From simple origins, the Norwegian cabin has today become a high-tech luxurious second home for many.
In this project, I investigate how technology works to define what is and is not a proper cabin. I am concerned not so much with technical definitions of what cabins are but with the changing cultural conceptions of generations of Norwegians building, using, and dreaming about cabins. Cabins, after all, are not just private buildings out in the wilderness somewhere—they are part of a shared public culture, a distributed idea that has developed over time, in dialogue with ideas of the nation-state, of leisure, and of nature and technology. This project explores the many acts of cultural judgment over the triad of nature, technology, and authenticity, using points of mediation, contestation, and debate as ways in which we can understand why cabins have gained such a prominent position in Norwegian culture.