Enki Bilal, explorer of the future

In March, Enki Bilal signed the third volume of Error, a saga first published in 2017. The designer imagines the sudden disappearance of all digital data stored on earth. Humanity is suddenly deprived of memory, for lack of access to the Cloud. An album box gives rise to a curious deja-vu impression. Two figures are each sitting at the end of a huge table. “She measures almost 7 meters, the safety distance requires”, indicates the text band. How can we not think of the February 7 meeting between Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron in the heart of the Kremlin? Obb’s face, the character created by Enki Bilal, is adorned with a blue dot. Intrigued, her interlocutor is cautious, she fears contagion. A few pages earlier, it was presented: “New Tsarina of Russia”. In chest, Obb the judge “unpredictable, neurotic, obsessive”. Amazing premonition! The meeting was held more than six months ago. “It simply came to our notice thendefense Enki Bilal. I see the world go by. The news feeds my inspiration. I invariably start my day reading the press, often two or three times a day. ”

Fragments of the complete Monster. Enki Bilal projects his stories “in a twenty-year horizon. I observe the world in motion, extrapolating it from what is already in place.” (Monsters, Enki Bilal © Casterman 2018)

(Monsters, Enki Bilal © Casterman 2018)

This is not the first time the designer has anticipated reality. In The sound of the monster (1998), had staged a religious international that orchestrated the explosion of a tower in the heart of a city. Before September 11, 2001. Enki Bilal, however, refutes the term visionary. “Extrapole of what is already in place”. It is projected in the near future, “a twenty-year horizon”. Thus, in Bug, book 3the action takes place in 2042 … On the album Hunting game (1983), produced with Pierre Christin, had already predicted the end of communism. “In fact, history has begun to bring us up to date. In Poland, the strikes ignited the Gdansk shipyards. We witnessed the rise of Solidarnosc, led by Lech Walesa.”

Enki Bilal confesses to being familiar with geopolitics: “It’s tied to my origins.” The cartoonist was born in Belgrade. The city was then the capital of Yugoslavia. Marshal Tito imposed his government on the country. The iron curtain, the dictatorship of the one party, the cult of personality are concrete notions for him, even if at that time he was only a small child. He was not 10 years old when he arrived in Paris in the early 1960s. He remembers, happily, his learning of the French language. “It was like love at first sight and I devoted myself to learning it and pronouncing it with delight.”

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