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The hut series, 2012, focuses on a particular form of vernacular architecture found in the most desolate areas of Iceland. These shelters can be encountered in the highlands far from settled areas, small signs of habitation that have sprung up in the most unlikely places. Many were initially made for shepherds tending sheep in the highlands, but have recently been turned into rescue shelters, hiking huts, and hunting cabins. The unique architecture, like an extra layer of skin for the body, grew from the need to escape extreme weather.
The shelters contain a poetic quality – not only because of their shape and jarring placement in desolate locations, but also because they are meeting places (‘micro-parliaments’, as Eliasson puts it) for groups of hikers, farmers, shepherds, and travellers. They are social machines within the vast landscape.
No doubt they are experienced differently in photographs than when they are encountered within the vast landscape. To evoke this isolated feeling, Eliasson chose to photograph them in spring, just after the snow had melted, but prior to the hiking season when the shutters are removed and backpacks lie strewn about.