An introduction to the dark realm of Sellfable City

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The other day something peculiar happened to me. I got in touch with Dutch artist Daniël van Nes who told me he knew a secret world he’d love to share with me. Of course that piqued my curiosity, and I met with him to hear what he could tell me about this strange place. Daniël introduced me to Sellfable City, a dark city that thrives on the energy of its inhabitants. Daniël has been assigned the role of archivist of the city, collecting evidence of its appearances in our world.

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Some sketches by Daniël to illustrate the sightings of Sellfable City inhabitants

The last couple of years more and more signs of Sellfable City have made appearances on the streets and in galleries all over the world. The spotted relics are all documented by the archivist on the website of the city. With every piece the mysterious city reveals some of its secrets, from the underlying foundation of the world to its inhabitants. The official statement Daniël has composed of his knowledge so far is as follows:

“Sellfable City is a ‘Machine Noir’ world, that thrives on the energy of its inhabitants. Like an ink stain, it slowly creeps into our world. Eating our data. Feeding on life and emotions.”

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Relics of the city found on the streets in our world

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Through the years the archivist collected several pieces that help put the puzzle of Sellfable City together. Energy seems to be the red thread in the mysterious Metropolis. Up close the relics show wires and transmission towers, elements that help the city thrive. Small creatures have shown up on the streets of New York, Amsterdam and Berlin, trying to lure passers-by into the creepy environment.

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Next to the small critters there are fantastic relics featuring the inhabitants of the city displayed in illuminated engravings. These engravings rely on the same system as the city: they can’t function without power. When not connected to a power source the relics look like dark, empty dioramas. It’s when the power flows through the diorama that it comes to life, and shares one of the Sellfable City inhabitants through an engraving.

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A relic (“Silverwinged Conjoiner Drone”) without and with power

The details in these etchings is insane. It takes a day to create a 10 by 10 centimeter square piece of line-work, which differ from small sizes to the gigantic Collecting Shells. The creature portrayed in this particular piece is one of the first encounters we get with an inhabitant of the city, and one of the only ones we get to see and experience up close. Looking closely to the portrait we discover all kinds of wires connected to her body, and of course the ‘crown of power’ all inhabitants of the city seem to wear. There isn’t much known about the power supply to the city yet, but Daniël is working hard on putting more pieces of the puzzle together. As a witness of these relics I was deeply impressed with what I saw: the mystery of these pieces without power and the story of one with it is amazing: it’s like two pieces of art in one.

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Detail of ‘Collecting Shells’

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“The Last Of Our Kind”

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Details for “Guardian of Sanity” and “Queen of Reason” from “The Last of Our Kind”

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The wood engraving “Interface” shows a more detailed view of the ‘crown of power’

If you’re interested in discovering more of Sellfable City make sure to keep an eye on the website and Instagram account where archivist Daniël collects everything he can find about this mysterious place. Rumors are there will be a massive appearance of Sellfable City called Circuit Circus in the Dutch city of Enschede next year, which will certainly be one you will want to experience in real life.

That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed discovering Sellfable City as much as I did! A big shout-out to Daniël for sharing his insights on the dark, fascinating Sellfable City: thank you! Last but not least, a message from a Sellfable City messenger…

46 61 62 6c 65 64 20 6d 61 63 68 69 6e 65 0d 0a 4c 69 73 74 65 6e 20 74 6f 20 6d 79 20 0d 0a 53 74 61 74 69 63 20 68 6f 77 6c

Fabled machine, Listen to my, Static howl.

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