“Into this wild Abyss
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds,
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. ”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
It’s hard for me to say how the story began because it has always been a part of me.
A lot has been said bout parallel universes and whether they exist or not. I believe, they do.
The one universe we live in intersects with all the other universes we create - the fictional stories we read and feel part of, the dreams we have and visualise. They intersect. The experiences we gain in one world are still with us after we cross the border and enter another one. Our lives are not a single layer.
While doings my MA at CSM we often spoke about influences, the value of cultural heritage, where we come from and what interests us. But what if what influenced me the most wasn’t real? I mean real, as palpable real. What about fictional worlds and stories, fairytales? What if the culture I identify the most with has been completely fictional and the characters, the heroes and their world something I made up?
A few years ago I worked on a client project about the cities of future. How do we imagine it, what they would be like, where would they exist?
The brief was simple.
What is the craziest, the most unreal and fantastic idea that could potentially be realised?
This is how The City of Nebo was born. Named after the Slovak word ‘nebo' meaning both the heaven and the sky. City of Nebo is a city of future based on an abandoned project by NASA called HAVOC - High Altitude Venus Operational Centre. NASA discovered, that between 40km and 50km above the surface of Venus is the most Earth-like environment. The gravity and the air pressure are the same as on Earth. If a floating island has been built there it would orbit Venus, have a moderate climate and wouldn’t require humans to wear any special equipment.
I have designed a floating city enclosed in a bubble, protecting it from the acidic atmosphere of Venus. The island had a lush vegetation to ensure enough oxygen would be produced for its citizens and the soil of the vast natural landscape served as a water filter. Solar panels ensured enough electricity could be made and stored. Venus itself is largely made of molten iron that could be mined and used to build the island and the nearby asteroid belt carried both water reserves and coal that could be cultivated to create soil for growing plants. The City of Nebo was build on the perfect balance between the natural and man-made, engineered world.
While dreaming up and designing my city I was often referring to literature, fiction and sci-fi. A city is more than it’s buildings and parks. What are the people like? What do they wear, eat and drink? How do they live? What culture would they have? What customs or habits they keep?
If I were to tell a story of the island what would I say?
I have started creating the visuals for the life of Neboians (the inhabitants of the city of Nebo) and I slowly became totally immersed in their world. For a few months I have completely lost perspective and after the project ended I felt so homesick that I thought I would never recover.
The world I have created was so vast, complex and so layered I almost believed it existed. Fast forward to the conversation about influences at CSM.
The City of Nebo has been my influence all that time.
Whether I was aware of it or not, its rich world have pulled me in. It was no longer I who was creating and building the world. It was the City of Nebo that has been influencing me and my work.
I would like to share the world with you and take you on a journey. One chapter at a time, the story of Nebo accompanied with illustrations and mini jewellery collections will unfold over the next few months.