You've landed in a place where winged humanoids dart and robots roam about sprawling futuristic cities. Have you been teleported to another universe? No, Earthling. You've simply entered the Maison d'Ailleurs, or the House of Elsewhere.
In 1976, French sci-fi buff Pierre Versin donated his collection of tens of thousands of science-fiction books to the Swiss spa town of Yverdon-les-Bains, just north of Lausanne, on the condition that it be made available for public viewing. The result was the launch of Europe's only public science-fiction museum. Since then, the House of Elsewhere has held two or three temporary exhibits a year that explore such staples of the genre as space travel, parallel worlds and alien life forms.
On exhibit until Sept. 23 are Swiss sci-fi artist Christian Lorenz Scheurer's images of imaginary civilizations. His work "helps us discover new realms," says the museum's curator, Patrick Gyger. Included are 200 sketches and digital paintings, such as Barcelone (2006), pictured, and a quirky "stamp collection" from an imaginary planet, as well as the digital paintings and conceptual otherworlds he has created in pencil, collage and more traditional media for movie classics like The Matrix, The Day After Tomorrow, The Fifth Element and Final Fantasy.
A show on the American horror and fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft is scheduled for October, and a new permanent wing dedicated to Jules Verne, the 19th century French writer widely considered the father of science fiction, is planned for next year.
The House of Elsewhere seeks to "show us where we have been and where we can go," Gyger muses. "It's about the power of dreams." www.ailleurs.ch