Maike Suhr, Hanna Döring, Freia Kuper:
The library as landscape, the landscape as library

During their stay at Alpenhof the hinterlands editorial team explored lines, links
and uneven connections between library and landscape. Going back to the basics
of magazine making, they produced a small zine and used the process of making
it to reflect not only on rural landscapes but also on their ways of working
together.

The library as landscape
We might already wander through the library like through the fields and hills. It is
its own landscape made up of boxes stacked with books, plastic dividers sticking
out, some books presented on small stand-up displays, objects scattered
throughout. What catches your attention? What do you feel drawn to?

What happened to these books before? They almost burned in a fire started from
vinyl and paper, Peter tells us, while we sit in his cozy but cold
attic-turned-living-room-turned-performance-space. We are hungry for his stories
of how he met Andreas, what kind of person he was. This is what we wonder while
we wander the corridors of that little box full of boxes that is the library. When it
was itself still wandering, the library was again threatened when a graffiti called for
violent pyromanic actions against gentrification places, such as the gallery where
the library had traveled to for the time being – Mara tells us sitting in the midst of
the collection, feeding us slowly with answers to our ravenous questions.

He was a memorizer, they say, his memories now contained and put in order. All
that stuff is sorted, but the abundance, the mess, the cracks, the undergrowth
remain.

 

The landscape as library
Week 1: We walked down from the crest and followed the surrounding paths. First
into the unknown, with an open mind. Keeping an eye out and absorbing where
the first steps took us. What we found: Animals, signs, wild herbs, cheese vending
machines, tracks, stacks of wood, people, sights, smells, sounds and encounters. In
this first period, walking was an activity in itself, without a purpose, simply heading
off into the blue.

Week 2: Then a purpose for our walks was sought for, was found or emerged on its
own. A dance performance in Trogen, a place to pick thyme for herbal tea, a visit to
the Brockenhaus in Oberegg at a certain time. The passage was provided with
prepositions. To and Towards and In Order To were added. We familiarized
ourselves with the place, became knowledgeable of it.

Week 3: Step by step, stack by stack, we sorted, categorized and documented.
Repetition became a consciously chosen principle: the photo of the same valley
each day, a familiar route to get some air. Patterns emerged through repetition
and series were created. The self-set tracks were followed. The tracks of Andreas
and his relations to our surroundings.

Week 4: The patterns bring us back to the beginning. We want to lose ourselves
again, to be guided by intuition. No more plans, just go for it and perceive anew.
But is that still possible when you are already familiar with your surroundings?
The trails we walked left traces. We take pleasure in tracing lines of thought, in
finding connection lines, in drawing an outline. We observe how we seek order
and templates ourselves, just to feel the urge to break them again.

Text: Maike Suhr, Hanna Döring, Freia Kuper (hinterlands magazine editorial team)
November 2023