CHATAŘSTVÍ / SUMMERHOUSES
VERONIKA ZAPLETALOVÁ

The book SUMMERHOUSES - the Architecture of Human Dreams and Possibilities was published in 2007 by the Era Publishing House in Brno as a part of the Era Extra series. The book is based on the photography project of the same name. It shows the visual originality of the self-build summerhouses, a dissapearing, typically Czech phenomenon. It discovers aesthetics that have thus far remained overlooked, and tries to examine influences that unwittingly inspired the construction of cottages. It examines what people actually long for when they acquire a space where they can materialize their dreams and create a place with merely one function - to make its owner happy.

Contrary to the installation of the art project, the book is divided into thematic chapters. The Influence of the Romanticism Associated with Tramping, The Influence of the First Republic Modern Architecture of the 1920s, The Socialist Period 1948-1989, Built Anew, Social Relationships, Glasshouses, Fences, Garden Sculpture, Material.

Several theoreticians, whose opinions on holiday home making are very interesting when related to one another within one context, contributed to this book. Václav Cílek writes about holiday home making from the point of view of the cultural anthropology of a weekday, Rostislav Švácha explores architects' cottages and their influence on popular cottages, and vice versa, Jiří Škabrada compares holiday homes with folk architecture, Tomáš Pospěch writes about holiday homes as an art project. I write about what I know - "art & an historical essay about the love, naiveté and sincerity of the builders, and about rubber figures on tomato poles...

I supplement individual chapters with a number of chronologically listed period quotations, determining the time of their origin, if this information was available. They are cited from the introductory texts to books that mostly focus on the construction of cottages, but also from scientific studies or fiction. From my point of view, they depict in the most eloquent manner, the time, mentality, standpoints, and conditions under which holiday home making originated and existed at various times. The mosaic of quotations behaves in a similar way as the exhibition project. Individual statements may express completely contradictory opinions. The viewers do not need to read them as a complex unit, they may stop to ponder one of them, notice a positive or negative evaluation, take their own standpoint towards it, see how the attitude, not only towards the aesthetics has changed over the course of time, and what inner tension was created with respect to the entire complex.

The topographic keys related to individual cottages are approximate, determined according to tourist maps. Dating of the cottages is also approximate.

The book is bilingual (Czech and English), it has 114 pages and 500 color photos of the same size as the original photographs.