Christian Wassmann

Architect / United States / Studio Christian Wassmann

Christian Wassmann’s Book List

Books are important tools in my studio; they inspire our work and are always on our desks. As a student I spent a lot of time in the library doing research for my projects, but I never liked to borrow books. I preferred to own them, mark them with notes, and collect articles, press releases, and other information inside the front cover. I always tried to find the most important books on a specific artist, architect or subject, study them and then cross-reference them. This ever-expanding archive represents everything I was ever interested in. The collection now serves as an extended memory that I can revisit at any time or dive deeper into a subject if desired.

Today a lot of information can be found on the Internet, but for me books have more authority due to the good authors, editors, and publishers who make them. In addition to their content, I love books also as beautifully designed and well-crafted physical objects.

It was very difficult to pick favorites for this list since each book has been inspiring and formative in one way or another. All the books in this selection helped me to see and realize previously hidden connections.

2 books
Jaron Lanier

Lanier is a musician and computer scientist who popularized the term “virtual reality” and co-programmed MIDI, the simplistic and almost irreversible protocol that rationalized music to data in the 1980s. He sounds the alarm for our generation about lock-ins such as MIDI and explains the commercial ideas behind social media. His book is a manifesto or a wakeup call for our time. He encourages the reader to pay attention to how our society is changing; and he warns us not to lose our individual creativity and settle for junk quality.

Peter Sloterdijk

Peter Sloterdijk begins with describing the role of the philosopher in society as somebody who is able to explain the complexities of our world to an individual. As opposed to other philosophers of the 20th and 21st century he is more of a generalist who looks at the world as a whole. I like that he often uses polemical and controversial examples to express his ideas. There is an interesting chapter explaining the difference between a hero, who is able to walk on water, and a mystic, who accepts that he is water within water.

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