Obscure Cities, The World Of The

Obscure Cities, The World Of The
A Parallel World Of Architectural Splendour
Schuiten And Peeters' Art
Peeters And Schuiten's Art
Comic Book Project By Belgian Artists Schuiten And Peeters

Roel van der Meulen


Some artists have a better perception of how amazing and wonderful our perfectly normal world is. Some artists have a perception that goes beyond that, and some are even willing to share it with the world.

Two Belgian authors, Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters, have published a series of illustrated works, adult comic books, that have taught me that our everyday Earth is connected to a parallel world. The authors' close connection to the world of the obscure cities, combined with their talent to excellently portray what they have observed, have given us a splendid account of some of the more important cities of that world.

The cities, which are absolutely marvellous in their architecture, seem to be the foci of power in that existence. The books have a peculiar atmosphere; in its strangeness it cannot be anything else than extremely close to how it's really like there. It may be that the estranging feeling you get from reading the books is because there is so much familiarity about the place, while it is clearly not like our world [1].

Actually, it appears that almost all of the Obscure Cities have a counterpart in our world. Brussels-Brusel (Belgium) is probably the most important duo; here the two worlds approach each other so close that a disastrous fusion of the dimensions is dangerously near.

There have been several occasions of people finding entrances to this other world, but nowadays these passages are unknown or kept secret by the authorities. These repressively discourage contact, either so as not to disrupt some cosmic balance, or for other more obscure reasons. One of the entrances is said to be underneath the Palace of Justice in Brussels as, from above, can be expected, and another one on the plateau of Aubrac [2]. Whether and where more entrances exist is not certain, but efforts are being made to discover them. One example comes from Joseph Le Perdriel, who gives a splendid account of his research in Groningen, the Netherlands, on his web pages [3].

You too can learn about the Obscure Cities by reading the following books:

  • The Walls of Samaris (1983)
  • The Fever of Urbicande (1985)
  • The Archivist (1987)
  • The Tower (1987)
  • The Road to Armilia (1988)
  • Encyclopedia of Transport by Alex Wappendorf (1988)
  • The Museum of A.Desombres (1990)
  • Brusel (1992)
  • The Echo of Cities (1993)
  • The Leaning Child (1996)
  • Guide to the Obscure Cities (1996) [4]

Also you might want to visit the author's web site http://www.urbicande.be/, if you know how to read French.

[1] The best way to achieve strangeness is to give something very familiar a slight twist.
[2] Read The Leaning Child.
[3] http://www.xs4all.nl/~eilko/perdriel/
[4] I have no idea whether these books have been translated in English. They certainly exist in French and Dutch.

See also

  • Earth
  • Art
A Parallel World Of Architectural Splendour
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Roel van der Meulen
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