Special Feature

Ninth Letter 9.1.5


What if the idea for New York City’s High Line had emerged from a short story published in The New Yorker?

Man-Made Lands, a special fiction chapbook of seven stories and five real architectural and landscape proposals for cities around the world, is Ninth Letter‘s first ever special edition chapbook. If young architects are pitching a proposal for a floating public pool in the East River on Kickstarter, can a short story aspire to have a similar or related effect? If each year the Museum of Modern Art commissions a group of architects to develop fictional solutions to real problems like climate change and foreclosure, can we not look to novelists also to read how we will live next?

 imaged used courtesy of Keita Takahashi

Man-Made Lands includes stories from: Joe Alterio, Seth Fried, Luther Magnussen, Micaela Morrissette, Ben Stroud, and Will Wiles; and proposals from Bjarke Ingels Group, Family with Office of Playlab, Steven Holl, and Keita Takahashi. “A Tale of Disapperance” is a commissioned collaboration between author Kate Bernheimer and architect Andrew Bernheimer. The project was designed by Ninth Letter founding designers Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud and Nan Goggin. The chapbook was made possible by a grant from the LAS Humanities Council and the generosity of Professor Richard Powers. Subscribers will receive complimentary copies of Man-Made Lands, and every customer who purchases our current issue, Spring/Summer 2012 (vol. 9.1), will also receive a copy of Man-Made Lands. If you’d like to purchase Man-Made Lands, visit our webstore.

 image used courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

A shift has occurred, without us noticing it. Man-Made Lands is a map of marbled boundaries–between cities and nature; between the infinity of the digital and the analog of the material; between the past and our present, our present and many possible futures; between fictions we envision and the facts that we construct to transform lives. News conditions take Ninth Letter‘s mission of collaboration between literary artists and designers beyond the boundaries of the journal. The time is right for unexpected alliances of writers, artists, programmers, architects, and engineers.

“I wanted the projects collected for Man-Made Lands to appear as if in a hypothetical workshop held across disciplines, a Bauhaus or Black Mountain for the Great Recession,” writes guest editor Scott Geiger, whose fiction has appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology and on exhibit at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City.

Columbia University’s Studio-X will host a launch party for Man-Made Lands and Ninth Letter‘s Volume 9, Issue 1 in New York City. “There’s No One There,” Joe Alterio’s illustrated tale commissioned for the project will be installed on exhibit. Scott Geiger will host a conversation with Alterio, Seth Fried, Family, and Office of Playlab.

Wednesday, May 23 Studio-X 180 Varick Street, 16th Floor New York City, NY