Eberstadt Dwell Cover

Congratulations to Stefan Eberstadt, whose sculpture Rucksack Haus adorns the cover of Dwell magazine this month. In the US we'd say "backpack house." I called it sculpture but it's also fully functional architecture; the box, perforated with wraparound windows, skylights, and "floor-windows" hangs suspended by cables from a larger building. The piece has received much attention in Germany and it's great to see it getting ink in the States. It occurs to me that housing such as this might be very useful in a certain flooded city we know. Not being flip here--the city should encourage provisional structures such as this parabuilding, rather than just letting the fat cats raze and redevelop to make New Orleans safe for their ilk.

I was in Munich last month attending the wedding of Stefan to Courtenay Smith, a friend and colleague from my Texas years and who is now curator of Lothringer Dreizehn, an art space located at Lothringer Strasse 13 in Munich. I had a great time; best wishes to both.

- tom moody 9-09-2005 8:54 pm

I saw Stefan's project in 2004 in Leipzig, where this cover photo was taken. I wish the show it was part of, Xtreme House, or the gallery that put on the show was mentioned in the Dwell article as it was a great show and I've seen other good shows there too. I got a special tour of the rucksack house by a gallery staff. The little cube hangs off a semi-abandoned building. You climb through a window to get in. The interior was fascinating and clever in its use of fold-out devices. However, according to the staff member, hanging the cube was quite an ordeal. While it appears lightweight, it isn't. The photos neglect to show the sizeable cable mechanism that goes over the roof and attaches to the far wall. The cube is also seriously bolted to the wall it perches from. So while the articulation of the mass is interesting and light, the apparatus to hang it isn't and that was unfortunate, but seemingly not insurmountable. So for anyone who's going to pack up and move on with one of these, order your crane and hammer drills to arrive well in advance. I hope Stefan keeps developing this project.
- sgp (guest) 9-12-2005 8:00 pm

ps: I should have said, where this photo appears to have been taken...the article didn't elaborate.
- sgp (guest) 9-12-2005 8:02 pm

Thanks, sgp. Please check back--I have a few things to add but need to give my carpal tunnel a break.
- tom moody 9-12-2005 9:01 pm

Thanks for the report and your thoughts on the house. The "Xtreme Houses" show originated in Munich at the art space Lothringer Dreizehn, mentioned above. Courtenay Smith based the exhibit on the book Xtreme Houses, which she coauthored with Sean Topham. The show then travelled to Leipzig, which provided the space for the Rucksack Haus to be built. Probably both galleries should have been credited, but it's just a short back-of-the-magazine article even though the Haus is on the cover.

Cables looping over the building and a brace on the wall don't seem inappropriate--that's standard backpack construction. You would want it to be sturdily constructed. The question for me is--could I live in it? No matter how strong the cables, I think I'd have dreams of falling in elevators every night. Also you'd have to be careful not to come in drunk and put your foot through the window...in the floor. People can adjust to anything, though.

- tom moody 9-12-2005 11:31 pm

Actually the floor looks like pretty solid plexiglas. Still...

Stefan Eberstadt Rucksack Haus 4

Stefan Eberstadt Rucksack Haus 5

- tom moody 9-12-2005 11:38 pm

No, what New Orleans needs is much more money, materials, hu-man-hours put into building more churches rather than upgrading levies and flood walls.

Heck, if they’d-a put the effort it took to build half of the hundreds of churches, that were un-flooded, into the walls/levies none of the religious houses would’ve, more than likely, ended-up undersea.

Or as I discovered/recorded.....

The Awful Facts
[Transcript of an audio discovery/recording by TOR Hershman]

*clap of thunder followed by a background of ghostly robotic music*

“Myriad moons ago, in the land of Pharaoh, there came to power a Being of wondrous propensities. He was called Amenhotep IV. Amemhotep IV envisioned, and then implemented, a monumental and unsurpassed addition to culture. Amenhotep IV was the first to have a society introduced to the theology of a one-god religion. Yes, Amenhotep IV institutionalized monotheism, a religion of one god.

This was a true monotheism, not the polytheism that Judaism, Christianity and Islam, each usually having at least two gods ~ the one all-benevolent, the other all-evil ~ have been for hundreds and hundreds of years. Yes, Amenhotep proclaimed the Aten, the Sun God, as the only god in all the universe; he even changed his name to reflect this new devotional imagery.

No prosaic Pharaoh was he, the works of Egyptian art were advanced to a vastly, almost impressionist, beautiful form. Of course when a vast change comes many resist it. After all, the feebleminded peasants were content to have had their religion spoonfeed to them by, less than astute, ancestors.
The established priests didn’t want one-god concepts cutting into their lucrative, wholly unholy, business.

Nevertheless the Pharaohs were considered gods in their own right. Ergo any opposition to the new religion was wee and reserved. But the only people to sincerely embrace Amenhotep’s religion were the upperclass, very well educated members of his governmental theocratic oligarchy. This was no small number, the ancient Egyptian government was a vast institution.
Not terribly long after Amenhotep’s demise the priests and peasants of the polytheist deities were once again able to gain political power.
They began a systematic, and extremely well financed, program of wiping any trace of the reign of Amenhotep IV from the face of the Earth. His name, original as well as his new, were obliterated from temple, obelisk, monument and papyrus.
The polytheist re-writers of history were very efficient, but not 100% so.
Monotheism’s followers were also persecuted most horribly so.
To even utter the former Pharaoh’s name was a crime punishable by a sound thrashing or even death!

Thus, these believes in a single god, who used to end all prayers by speaking the new name Amenhotep had chosen, reverted back to ending their supernally aimed beseeching with the words “Freed From Doubt By Amenhotep.”

But this was also seen as a blasphemous act by the ancient polytheistic spin-doctors. So, they needed to conclude their prayers, to their singular god, with another sound of solemn ratification.
And that way soon became the word . . . AMEN !
Moreover, those who descended from Amenhotep’s followers, though many changes have been made to their religion over the long years, became know as.....the Jews.

*music now becomes the gospel classic “Amen” with a brilliant satirical lyrical redo*

Amen hotep amen
Groovin’ with his sweety
her name was Nefertiti
amen hotep amen
real style down by the Nile
a pile of pâté crocodile
amen hotep hotep

{ fin }

Mp3 of this work, as a two part Spoken Word recording along with “Jesus Christ the Facts,” (Knowledge so SHOCKING, so FANTASTIC, so UNFORFEITABLE some of you may faint. Though most will only pick their noses and fart.) is at

{copy & paste}


TOR’s fan club with many more recordings is at

.....and for all your Hollow Day musical comedy needs, i.e., “The Little Bummer Boy,”
“Jesus (& Satan) Is A Fraud,” “Krispy Krishna,” “Jesus Christ Is The AntiChrist” and many more


Stay on Groovin’ Safari,
TOR Hershman

- anonymous (guest) 11-26-2005 10:11 pm

Holy cow.
- jimlouis 11-27-2005 12:57 am