Walter Ballmer
By Davide Fornari

04 October 2022

Olivetti Identities
Spaces and Languages 1933 – 1983

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In 2016, more people flew in planes than ever ecorded in history. Technology has also enabled new developments to take place through the air, from drones to satellite communication.

The little blue alien which often appears in Annie Li’s illustrations reminds us of those iconic blue creatures, the Draags, which inhabit René Laloux’s planet of Ygam in his 1973 cult-classic animated film Fantastic Planet. But while the Draags were a race of gigantic creatures oppressing the diminutive humanoid inhabitants of Ygam, Annie’s little alien is a friend to the human race and often occupies itself with teaching them lessons and reading them stories. Her illustrations are an intriguing combination of sci-fi strangeness and cosy familiarity, all drawn together with her cartoonish, school-room style of drawing.

“The blue alien loves to explore and to discover the unknown realms. The blue alien can appear anywhere, it is an avatar of yours and mine.”

Wanting to understand this enigmatic character, we asked Annie to tell us more. Her answer was intriguing yet cryptic: “The blue alien is like The Fool, card zero in the Tarot deck which is the new beginning and the infinite possibilities,” she says. “The blue alien loves to explore and to discover the unknown realms. The blue alien can appear anywhere, it is an avatar of yours and mine.” Hopping from arcane to her most contemporary references, the illustrator tells us that she often looks to internet memes and comedy films to inject moments of humour into her illustrations.

Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan: “When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”

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Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan: “When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”
Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan: “When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”

“I found it fascinating and started to think maybe food is the common language of the universe.” So it’s unsurprising that another of her favourite projects also revolves around food”

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Wanting to understand this enigmatic character, we asked Annie to tell us more. Her answer was intriguing yet cryptic: “The blue alien is like The Fool, card zero in the Tarot deck which is the new beginning and the infinite possibilities,” she says. “The blue alien loves to explore and to discover the unknown realms. The blue alien can appear anywhere, it is an avatar of yours and mine.” Hopping from arcane to her most contemporary references, the illustrator tells us that she often looks to internet memes and comedy films to inject moments of humour into her illustrations.

Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan: “When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan:

“When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”

Wanting to understand this enigmatic character, we asked Annie to tell us more. Her answer was intriguing yet cryptic: “The blue alien is like The Fool, card zero in the Tarot deck which is the new beginning and the infinite possibilities,” she says. “The blue alien loves to explore and to discover the unknown realms. The blue alien can appear anywhere, it is an avatar of yours and mine.” Hopping from arcane to her most contemporary references, the illustrator tells us that she often looks to internet memes and comedy films to inject moments of humour into her illustrations.

Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan: “When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”Speaking of some of her favourite pieces, Annie points us to one of the most minimalistic works in her portfolio. Cooked is a line drawing of a human passing a cookbook to an alien. While the rest of her work usually depict aliens teaching humans (post-apocalyptic theory, complex scientific experiments, lessons on Nazca lines etc), this charming little work suggests what we might be able to offer aliens in return. It is inspired by a quote from American author Michael Pollan:

“When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”

Wanting to understand this enigmatic character, we asked Annie to tell us more. Her answer was intriguing yet cryptic: “The blue alien is like The Fool, card zero in the Tarot deck which is the new beginning and the infinite possibilities,” she says. “The blue alien loves to explore and to discover the unknown realms. The blue alien can appear anywhere, it is an avatar of yours and mine.” Hopping from arcane to her most contemporary references, the illustrator tells us that she often looks to internet memes and comedy films to inject moments of humour into her illustrations.

“When you learned to cook is when you became truly human.”