Bizarre weather. Unprecedented economic disparity. Artists employed by corporations as consultants. And the ultimate work of art: Oval, a pill that increases generosity. New York-based writer Elvia Wilk’s debut novel ‘Oval’ asks questions of empathy and power on every scale—from bodies to bureaucracies—to create an unsettling portrait of a near-future Berlin. In ‘Oval’, protagonists Anja and Louis are offered a rent-free home on an artificial mountain—yet another eco-friendly initiative run by a corporation. They seize the opportunity, but it isn’t long before the experimental house begins malfunctioning. An experimental novel that examines the relationship between real estate, sustainability, and art-making, ‘Oval’ is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.
Nick Axel is an editor, architect, educator and theorist, and is currently deputy editor for e-flux Architecture and head of the Architecture department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.