It is 2019. Shadowy cabals steer society towards ruin and ravage. Ecologies die, violence thrives, and the seeds of collapse bear fruit across civilization. The earth stands at a crossroads between oppressive dystopia and uninhabitable hellscape. Still, in this frayed and delirious state, we create new worlds, distilling stories from the chaos.
One such world has chosen us. It is parallel to ours: woven of the same thread, but guided by the stars of a different sky. We seek to delve into its profoundest depths, and explore its characters to their fullest bloom. In this new place, the populace is beset by a transformative pathogen – the result of a hyperconnected technology culture, the allure of conspiracy, paranoia and anxiety, and the machinations of a psychotropic entity that pervades the substrates of existence. Atop the foundations of the Internet has been built a fully-immersive, hyperreal inner-space as far-reaching as it is bizarre, where culture flows unceasingly from artificial celebrities and peach memelords. Timelines twist together in ways forbidden by the laws of physics and decency, causing relics, memories, and beings from impossible futures to rewrite their own histories. Dreams, sentience, time, memory: nothing is as it seems.
In spite of this disorienting landscape, or perhaps because of it, a small group of people, each an expression of a piece of ourselves, attempt to chart a way forward. Their journey will bring them to the edge of the real and beyond. The world of 2019 and the world of the Ninth Archive exist in tandem, and in each one our identities have been reduced to nothing more than a commodity. A thread in a tapestry, overlaid by an endlessly scrolling feed. We only hope we can contribute some incongruity — a missing weft, a glitch in the continuum, or that errant mutation whose existence needs not be justified, but compels curiosity.
The Ninth Archive began as a thought experiment between visual artist Marcelo Gallegos and writer Cameron Higby-Naquin: could their innumerable forays into the medium of illustrated text across a wide spectrum of genres be incorporated into a single coherent whole? The original idea of a vault of secrets grew, Blob-like, until it possessed its own narrative, voice, and style. A mosaic where each tile tries to be as fascinating as the whole. They hope you find in it something beautiful and strange.