Welcome to my nightmare
This past weekend Ant and I decided to head up to Gruyeres. No, not for the cheese, although we couldn't resist the cheese either. (I'll post later about our tasty raclette experience.) In fact, I will have to go back up for the Gruyere cheese factory tour at a later point...and to buy that 35 franc bottle of Le Fee Vert I passed on. No, we went for a different, more art related, reason all together.
Gruyeres was the regional seat of power from 1080 up until 1554. It is situated a couple hours and a beautiful countryside train ride away from Geneva. It is a hill-top village repleate with obligitory chateau. Completely picturesque and inundated with tourists.
Which is why it is even stranger to run across the goth futuristic horror and genius that is
*Giger is best known for his work on Alien and Species. Born in Chur Switzerland in 1940 and took a winding path that led him to art school in Zurich (much like our two protaganists). In 1969 Giger designs and silkscreens his first 'biomechanoids' and participates in a Happening with two other artists. After a horror nightmare sometime later he begins work on Necronomicon and by 1978 a copy makes it's way to Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox. And thus begins his reign over the horror genre.
The ancient converted house is quite unassuming, bar the tiles and sculptures adorning the outside and marking it as Giger's own. While wandering through the narrow rooms Ant and I kept musing out loud what it must be like to have such things in one's head all the time. A whole world of nightmarish creatures, to not only dissect how they live and reproduce but to bring such creatures to life. And then we noticed a giant Alien floating above us and decided to muse out loud in the Giger bar across the way where things might be a bit less frightning. We were wrong.
The bar offered something called 'Alien Coffee' but after having seen the spoof scene from SpaceBalls the night before (in which the Alien baby pops out of the guy's stomach after eating at a roadside cafe) we decided to avoid any and all Alien food references.
One website laments 'his (Giger's) unique brand of grotesque art, sexualized surrealist visions of machine-like humanoids, nightmarish cityscapes and fantasy-porn gynaecological obsession' influence on the city of 'Switzerland's most photographic sights'. I disagree however. I think the juxtaposition works well. The treacly sweet Walt Disney like castle-village is well tempered by the sparse flock of black leather clad Goths and metalheads blending in like oil in water. The site goes on to say 'Heaven help Gruyeres' when really it ought to say 'Heaven help Giger'. The man, although brilliant, is obviously in need of a good night's sleep with nothing but candyland like dreams.
*All biographical information excerpted from Giger's official site