by Isabel Löfgren
This is tourism upside-down.
This proposal for an imaginary guide for Co. Leitrim is inspired by the science fiction comedy series created by Douglas Adams. Adams’ title refers to a fictional, eccentric, electronic travel guide for a novel where every chapter ends up with the destroying of the Earth in a different way. The narrative of the various versions of the story of how the Earth may come to an end are punctuated with excerpts from the Guide, in their journey from the present moment to the Pub at the End of the Universe.
As a parody of Douglas Adams’ science-fiction comic tale, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Here nor There intends to reenact the original guide with site-specific interventions puncutated on a map of Co. Leitrim.
In our tale, the characters visit the legendary planet D-Naleri, home to the now-collapsed planet-building industry, and meet Seanquinia, a planetary coastline designer who was previoulsy responsible for designing the fjords of Norway. This same company had also invented the green colour scheme for Ireland, but given times of austerity had to find new business models to sustain itself.
Our story begins when the characters visit the border Irish region of Co. Leitrim, where Seanquinia attempts to lift itself out of bankruptcy by building arrays of so-called “model homes” for humans to act as landing spots for alien dignitaries who have finally figured out how to take over the Earth and ultimately destroy it. After the death of John McGahern, a protector of the land, the company also planned to drill holes in the region with the excuse to find natural gas, yet with the ultimate purpose of imploding the Earth from within.
One effective way of carrying out this strategy was to seriously damage the local population’s perception and visual faculties by painting all the homes with Primrose Yellow, a pigment whose wavelength gradually blinds humans to the presence of Seanquinia’s employees in the area. Some of the company’s older employees, disguised as sheep, have already managed to implement inter-planetary receptors within the green meadows of the county, and built communication stations on top of hills (just piles of rock, really) in order to feed the super-computer Deep Thought with necessary information to carry out the ultimate plan.
In current times of utter bankruptcy, Seanquinia’s last resort to the plan of ultimate destruction of the Earth was to send a stellar cast of artists to occupy the region. Yet, following the extreme short-sightedness typically associated with Seanquinia’s strategic plans, this rebellious bunch began to organize a meticulous counter-offence.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Here nor There is a travel guide to sites of resistance created by these stubborn humans to undermine Seanquinia’s armageddon.
The struggle between the company and the rebellious army of artists is in the race to find the missing information necessary to create a machine more powerful than Deep Thought, a supercomputer called Even Deeper Thought, in order to find the exact location of the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. They serve as clues to the ultimate answer while they efficiently elude the company from its plan.
This Guide is such a repository for these clues.