What is this project?
So this is Utopia,
Is it? Well —
I beg your pardon;
I thought it was Hell.
– Max Beerbohm
߷ This article is about Hobart’s utopia, called Vekllei
M y stories are about good places and people. That’s the gist of it. Vekllei is a fictional country where I demonstrate good things by drawing and writing about them. It’s part-escapism, part-fantasy, and all good.
This website is a comprehensive archive and portal to everything I do.
- Utopia is for everything related to Vekllei, its world, and characters
- Newsdesk is for everything outside of it
- Stories is for the individual stories I write and draw regularly.
Vekllei is a jumble of very pure, obsessive instincts that are illustrated to make them look and feel real. I want to take purity seriously by considering its implications in the real world. Vekllei does not use money – a very straightforward and fantastical idea. Of course, moneylessness has extraordinary implications, and to maintain the purity of the idea we have to work very hard.
Simplicity is actually very complicated, and so Vekllei is very complicated to justify the simplicity. It’s filled with things I value and people I admire. You’ll find hundreds of posts and many articles on this site, and all of them are designed to make this place and its people feel real.
Just a few things to keep in mind:
- This place is iterative – canon disappears, people change appearance and the systems of Vekllei twist and turn as I do.
- This place is good-spirited – Vekllei is escapism, and although the dark accompanies the light, this project is supposed to be escapist and fun.
- This place is constantly expanding – I try out new styles, mediums and methods of distribution all the time. Some of them work, some of them don’t. That’s part of the fun of it!
❖ Check out the FAQ
I define the broad, general phenomenon of utopianism as social dreaming – the dreams and nightmares that concern the ways in which groups of people arrange their lives and which usually envision a radically different society than the one in which the dreamers live. But not all are radical, for some people at any time dream of something basically familiar.
– Lyman Sargent1
This project has three parts. Each part is a little utopia, in the sense that it’s a dream of some kind, but they’re not quite the same.
- Utopia as Landscape – the country of Vekllei, with its geography, architecture, aesthetics, society, and culture.
- Utopia as Character – the people of Vekllei, as they represent, interrogate, and soothe aspects of myself and others.
- Utopia as Author – me, and my motivations, failings, and journey as a storyteller and illustrator.
What is Vekllei?
❖ Main article: Vekllei
V ekllei (pronounced ‘Veck-lie,’ or /vƐk.laɪ/) is an island country set in what we know as Iceland. Vekllei is its own country, and does not look or feel like Iceland. It has unique cultures, ethnicites, and landscapes. It is an old country, having been settled for thousands of years by native Algic peoples and Scandinavians. It is also a new county, having suffered a nuclear attack at the beginning of the 21st Century which extinguished much of its old civil society.
The flags of Vekllei’s Commonwealth.
By the mid-21st century, Vekllei has become a remarkable place. Quality of life is excellent and living there is unlike living anywhere else on Earth. The country is an ambitious expression of alternate modes of thinking, visible in every aspect of society, from its bizarre moneyless economy to its complicated cultural and religious metaphysics.
Quick facts about Vekllei and the state of the world in the mid-21st Century.
- Vekllei takes place in a fictional retrofuture, where some technologies have advanced in different ways. Most computers in Vekllei are centralised as manufactured wetware, connected to via terminals. In this sense, they are both more and less advanced than contemporary personal computing. In other technologies, like aerospace, the world is undeniably more advanced.
- Vekllei’s future retains the cold war from the previous century. The U.S.S.R. stiill exists, as do emerging political divisions across Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
- Vekllei’s future remains heavily influenced by midcentury modernist styles.
- Although Vekllei’s unique history has influenced its region for thousands of years, most major diversions from our own timeline occur shortly after the Second World War.
Sargent, L.T., 1994. The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited. Utopian studies, 5(1), p.3. ↩︎