Artist and writer George Mathen, aka Appupen, has carved out a unique space for himself in the still-nascent world of graphic storytelling in India with his vivid and stylized depictions of dystopic societies. Although, when you read his books, from Moonward (2009) to The Snake and the Lotus (2018), what’s immediately striking is the idealism at the heart of his storytelling. His stories hope for a just, equitable and environmentally conscious world, and turn a jaundiced eye at the grim realities of the real world.
So when Lounge commissioned him to create an piece of original work that looks at machine sentience and its capacity for imaginative creation, like art, what we weren’t expecting was a joke. Set in the same expansive universe of Halahala, which forms the background to all his narratives, Appupen plays with visual puns to arrive at a hilarious (and idealistic) conclusion.