Swedish illustrator Kilian Eng is best known for his dark science fiction landscapes fraught with spaceships and fractured robots. His second book, Object 10, features 89 separate drawings, most of which take up entire pages. The drawings are elaborate scenes with theatrical, acid-trip undertones. There are no individual titles for the drawings, the book isn’t paginated, and it's not exactly sequential. One page might include a cutaway house with floating insects, and the next might feature a party for robots.
Eng has presented his dystopian world of organic machines and space travel odysseys as a narrative open to interpretation. The illustrator has said he likes to "invite people to make up their own stories" in response to his work. Yet, a narrative is not what seems to connect the drawings. Rather, each image retains the same purple-orange-navy gradients that unite the works in color and contrast, along with similar recurring creatures.
Flipping through the pages, a collection of short narratives (think a cross between Star Trek, James Cameron’s The Abyss and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles) forms as individual characters explore extraterrestrial domains. Through their travels, readers hop planets to greet their inhabitants and explore alien cultures. In some misadventures, sidetracked spacemen become absorbed into stars and disintegrate into nothingness, grasping for each other in their last moments of life.
The drawings in Object 10 are beautiful, but the entire book sometimes reads as a storyboard for a yet-to-be-completed animation, with many gaps in comprehension between the panels. Eng actually dabbles in animation, and in areas of the book where two panels connect best, the resulting effect is reminiscent of two .gif screenshots. Eng is certainly a master of illustration, but the drawings might have worked better collected into a full-fledge animation. However, since most of the drawings in Object 10 can be found online at Eng’s blog, the goal of his book may be more to present an organized portfolio than a mute narrative.