HR Giger's Passages I-IX

leading from
Development of Giger's Art

Passage I

a) The Passages nightmares
Giger spoke about the Passages painting series, how the first of his corridor pictures were prompted by a series of dreams. In these dreams he usually found himself in a large white room without doors or windows, he would compare the place to being like a stone grave or a tomb and the only way out
lead to an all powerful evil represented by a dark, iron opening barred by a clamp in the form of iron hoop half way along that was basically a large safety pin. The dreams also reveal the place to be a sort of an oven and he would have his arms drawn up.

Passage II
b) Activities in the dream environment
Moreover in passing through this opening he regularly got stuck. And to crown everything,  the exit at the end of this long chimney, where he could see only a faint shimmer of light, would be promptly shut by an unseen force. Then he would be stuck in the tube with his arms pressed tightly by his sides unable to move forwards or backwards and feeling that he was running out of air.  He would always think in the dream "Oh my god, why am I here?" The only way out was to wake up.

Passage IV
c) Decision to paint his dreams
He subsequently painted some of these imaginary passages and then then had been spared this birth trauma. The passages became for him a symbol of growth and dissolution with all the possible stages of pleasure and pain, and continue to have a hold on him. His mother revealed to him that he had a difficult birth and that he didn't want to come out.

d) Influence on Alien
See also H R Giger's Passages i-ix influencing design of Nostromo Corridors and Giger's influence on Ron Cobbs Alien birth Temple

Source quotes
  1. HR Giger: A long time ago I used to have nightmares, they were, I was stuck in a kind of oven with my hands drawn up and I couldn't get any air, and that was probably a dream, which , from my mother... mine was a difficult birth, you see, that's what my mother told me, I didn't want to come out and of course I couldn't get any air and that happened again and again, and then from far away, I would see a light and then it would become dark again, couldn't get any air and so on, and these unpleasant dreams stopped when I began to paint those passages which actually represent that condition. At the time, I didn't notice that at all, but well it's turned out to be true because I haven't had any of those dreams since then. (report from unused conversation with H R Giger for Alien Evolution)
    Passage IV
  2. HR Giger: The strongest thing in my work, I think, is the claustrophobic stuff. I still sometimes have shitty dreams with that in… being inside rooms that are like graves, a stone grave, a tomb. And I always think in the dream, ‘Oh my god, why am I here?’ (He laughs)  Claustrophobic things are terrible. I used to think all that was finished but it’s still here. That’s more important to me than the erotic stuff.” ( 
  3. Giger: As a boy, I would dream every night that I was in a white room, from which I could only escape from a hole in the cieling. But even when I managed to reach this hole. I was stuck inside the wall and couldn't breathe. I freed myself from these obsessions when I began painting my Passages (Cinefantastique vol9, no 1, p37-39)
    Passage V
  4. Giger: The initial "Passages" paintings were created in 1969 following a series of dreams, I was in a large white room with no windows or doors. The only exit was a dark metal opening in which, to make things worse, was partially obstructed by a safety pin. I usually got stuck when passing through this opening. The exit at the end of a long chimney which could be seen only as a tiny point of light, was, to my misfortune, blocked by an invisible power. Then I found myself stuck as I tried to pass through the pipe, my arms pressed against my body, unable to move forward or backward. At that point I started to lose my breath and the only way out was to wake up. I have since painted some of these dream images in the "Passages" series (Passages I-IX) and as a result have been freed from recurring memories of this particular birth trauma. But the "Passages" which for me symbolize maturity and decay, with all the accompanying stages of pleasure and pain, have not released their hold on me (HR Giger's Retrospective 1964-1984 p34 (From Paasagen ["Passages"] H R Giger 1974))
    Passage VI
  5. Giger: The first of corridor pictures were prompted by a series of dreams. In these I usually found myself in a large white room without doors or windows. the only exit a dark, iron opening barred by an iron hoop half way along.  Moreover in passing through this opening I regularly got stuck. And to crown everything,  the exit at the end of this long chimney, where I could see only a faint shimmer of light, would be promptly shut by an unseen force. Now I was stuck in the tube with my arms pressed by my sides unable to move forwards or backwards and feeling that I was running out of air.  The only way out was to wake up. I subsequently painted some of these imaginary passages (I-IX) and since then had been spared this birth trauma. But the passages became for me a symbol of growth and dissolution in ever possible stage of pleasure and pain, and they had remained with me to this day.(From Giger's Necronomicon English edition, 1991)
    Passage VII (1970)
  6. HR Giger: The first passages paintings resulted from a series of vivid dreams. Most of the time I would find myself in a big white room without any doors and windows, where the only exit leads to an all powerful evil, which was represented by a dark, metal opening obstructed by a metal clamp. I often became firmly stuck when I tried to pass through this opening. To my misfortune, the exit at the end of this long tunnel, which could be spotted as a tiny gleam of light. was promptly locked by an invisible force. Now I would be stuck in the tube with my arms pressed tightly against my body and could not move forward or backwards, and I felt as if I was running out of breath. The only solution was to wake up. I then drew some of these imaginary PASSAGES (I-IX) and since then have been spared the birth nightmare. But the PASSAGES, which have become for me the symbol of Becoming and Passing with all stages of lust and suffering, have not let go of me to this day (Giger's Film Design, p10)
  7.  C J Fifer: I suffer from bad dreams, and use them to create my own art. Of all the night terrors you've had, is there one particular nightmare that has stuck with you .
    HR Giger: There are many. In a lot of cases, recurring dreams eventually led to the creation of some of my most poignant works. I frequently wrote about this in my books, such as the Necronomicon. An exampled of this is the 'Passagen' series of painting of the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Bizarre magazine, 2013 p67)
  8. Giger: ... sometimes I have these images, while I was painting the Passage, it was okay, but when I get into unpleasant situations, I suddenly find myself in some kind of masonry in which I get stuck and it's getting hot or I'm sitting outside and I have to get inside... (Through the eyes of Giger, video interview)
    Passage VIII
  9. HR Giger: A dream where I can’t get enough air, that’s frightening. Or the kind of dream where I was stuck in a grave or something like that, that was frightening. But later I developed these passages paintings [Passage I-XXX] and they were very good for that. I got some sort of relief. I got no more bad dreams when I painted these passages. It was helpful.
    Conor Creighton: Does that happen often?
    HR Giger: No, not often, but I did the right thing because at the time these passage dreams were ruining my work. It was the right thing to make me feel better.
    ( & (
  10. Giger found inspiration for his art in the night terrors he experienced beginning in his childhood. Painting his dark and disturbing visions provided a kind of self-therapy: ( 2 May 2013)
    Passage IX
  11. HR Giger: I don’t have these dreams anymore. Well, maybe I do but I don’t make sketches of them. I draw some of the things I have dreamt. For example, there’s a rather unpleasant dream where I am stuck in a tomb and the only way out is a very narrow passage. There are huge stones and I am totally stuck. I cannot move at all. So terrifying, claustrophobic nightmares. I made some drawings of them, and every time I look at them, it puts me back into that terrible situation. Looking at these pictures bothers me so much, that I don’t look at them anymore. ( 2 May 2013
  12. Interviewer: Do you get your inspiration from dreams, and does your art work reflect your dreams.
    H R Giger:
    My dreams are usually very realistic, there aren't any figures like the ones in my paintings. But I for example used to have an unpleasant dream, I always tell people the same thing but it happens to be true; a long time ago I used to have nightmares, they were, I was stuck in a kind of oven with my hands drawn up and I couldn't get any air, and that was probably a dream, which, from my mother... mine was a difficult birth, you see, that's what my mother told me, I didn't want to come out and of course I couldn't get any air and that happened again and again, and then from far away, I would see a light and then it would become dark again, couldn't get any air and so on, and these unpleasant dreams stopped when I began to paint those passages which actually represent that condition. At the time, I didn't notice that at all, but well it's turned out to be true because I haven't had any of those dreams since then.
    (report from unused conversation with H R Giger for Alien Evolution)

H R Giger

Development of H R Giger's art.

Leading from 

HR Giger with his Alien 3 beast. (source:

  1. Xenoerotica drawings (2005)
  2. The Windowlickers I, II & III (1999)
  3. Aquatic Super Facehugger (1990)
  4. Bambi-burster  (1990)
  5. Alien 3 beast (1990)
  6. Erotomechanics VII (1979)
  7. Alien Monster IV (1978)
  8. Alien Monster III (1978)
  9. Life cycle hieroglyphics (1978)
  10. The Space Jockey (1978)
  11. The Derelict Ship (1978)
  12. The Alien Egg (1978)
  13. The Face Hugger(1978)
  14. Egg Silo Exterior (work 378) (1978) 
  15. Alien stage III version 4 (1978)
  16. Alien stage III version 3 (work 372 & 373)(1978)
  17. Alien stage III version 2 (work 370 & 371) (1978 ) 
  18. Alien stage III version 1 (work 369) (1978)
  19. Homage to Bocklin (1977) 
  20. Necronom VIII (1976)
  21. Necronom V (1976)
  22. Necronom IV (1976)
  23. The Spell III (1976) 
  24. Samurai (1976)
  25. Friedrich Kuhn II (1973)
  26. Friedrich Kuhn I (1973)
  27. Aleph (1972-1973)
  28. Landscape XVI (1972)
  29. Passages I-IX (1970 approx)
  1. Ernst Fuchs Demon
  2. Shaft Dreams
  3. Military service and School memories,  
  4. Out of body experiences 
  5. Passages nightmares. See : Passages I-IX
  1. Ling Chi execution photos 
  2. Ancient Egyptian mysteries
  3. Tale of the Scarecrow
  4. The architecture of Cambodia
  5. Metal plates grafted onto his mothers
  6. People's treatment of animals
  7. Cocteau's Beauty And The Beast 
  8. Bosch 
  9. Dali 
  10. The TV series Doctor Who
Studio environments
  1. H R Giger's work studio during Alien at Shepperton Studios, 1978 
  2. H R Giger's main studio in the corner of a film studio at Shepperton, 1978 (to come) 
  3. H R Giger's studio moved to the Art Department, 1978

Delville's influence on Giger's Facehugger?

leading from

Delville's "Idol of Perversity"
a) The zig-zag tentacle motif can be seen as visable as the facehugger tail in a sketch from Giger's notebook as seen in a video and in Giger's Alien Egg Version III during the film production and the egg's glow is inspired to by Delville's influence from Idol of Perversity. The other side though is that Giger purposely designed his Facehugger with a coil like tail so that it can spring out like a jack-in-a-box.

Giger's work 381;  Alien Egg version III

Sketch of facehugger from Giger's Alien Diaries

Erotomechanics VII continues to explore
the Pakal Votan tomb lid imagery

Leading from

modelling for Erotomechanics VII (from Giger's Polaroids)

 unfinished Erotomechanics VII by HR Giger (from Giger's Polaroids)

 Erotomechanics VII by HR Giger (1979)

Models posing for Erotomechanics VII, 1979 (Polaroids, 2014)

a) Continuing with the exploration into Giger's Necronom V, showing a female figure with the head of the Alien, riding on a piece of apparatus being inspired by the design of Pakal Votan's tomb lid, one might look at the painting Erotomechanics VII which shows two female figures seated opposite each other on an alien head, inside of something describable as an iron womb. Mia Bonzanigo and a friend of hers both posed for HR Giger and now polaroids have been released, it can be seen that they posed with the actual head of the Alien suit and the tail as well, trying out several different positions before settling for one that mysteriously echoes the Pakal Votan tomblid

Pakal Votan tomb lid, AKA the Palenque rocket man

b) One can ask if this is also inspired, even if only loosely, by the Pakal Votan tomb lid, as we see the cutaway womb like shape  encapsulating the occupants with an engine device to the right against. The serpent bar coloured in pink here transforms into the crouched female on the left holding the ribbed tusk over her head.

c) Giger's work in Erotomechanics VII became a starting point for work 444 , Biomechanical Mia, Egyptian Style. The crouched female figure on the left transforms into the head and forearms of a winged Sphinx creature. The style of the background shows similarity to the New York City series that would soon follow

work 444 , Biomechanical Mia, Egyptian Style, 1980

Galactic Geography

The galactic map of "Alien"

leading from

a. O'Bannon's star map

A diagram with the online script shows a starmap of the territories where humans have explored.  As we know the Nostromo in its return journey has not reached the rim of "The Outer" which is 108 light years in diameter, or 54 light years away from Earth, and the area is separate from the inner circle, Earth Vicinity which is an area around Earth , 32.6 light years in diameter which equals 10 parsecs (this has been a popular distance for people to make charts listing the stars within the area local to Earth in past years.) It contains 37 star systems and 4000 planets.

"The Outer" contains 1650 Star Systems, 46 like our sun, and over 20,000 planets. The distance from "The Outer" rim to Earth Vicinity's rim is 37.7 lightyears. In his original script, Roby suggests that they should "get on theradio to the exploration authorities", and with radio signals traveling at the speed of light Standard states that it will take 75 years to get a reply back.  The questions here, might assume either he is saying that the exploration authorities will respond to them from the rim of Earth Vicinity or are they really near Zeta Reticuli and expect to send a signal to planet Earth directly?

b. Reference to the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case

By the map of "The Outer", since the Nostromo has not reached the rim of this area but is supposed to be near it, it has roughly 20 light years to go before it gets to Zeta II Reticuli. In the movie the star system was only again. However it is likely that O'Bannon included it as a landmark in deep space as a reference to the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case that was being talked about a lot in the 1970s because of this booklet called the "Zeta Reticuli Incident" by Terence Dickinson released ab out the incident that contained essays by such notable people such as Carl Sagan making his point of view known (see virtual copies: and about the likelihood that a star map seen by Betty Hill was correct or not that showed a similarity to the positions of Earth in relation to Zeta I and II Reticuliand that booklet contained a table that listed all known stars within a radius of 54 light-years that are single or part of a wide multiple star system, which were then the 46 nearest stars similar to the Sun. Here we have the mention of the the 54 light years radius. Terence Dickinson used the '69 edition of the Gliese catalogue, which logged stars up to 22 parsecs (71.75599772 light years) out,

Locating the Nostromo

leading from

a). Verbal references
Looking for a way to build an idea about how the galactic geography is formed in the film. We have very a small amount of information to play with.
  1. In the movie we have Parker's statement "We're way out in the boondocks here"  This as a generalisation might  suggest a remote area in the galactic area where they travel.
  2. a) In the movie we have Lambert talking about the fact that the Nostromo is "Just short of Zeta II Reticuli, not even reached the outer rim yet"
    b) Zeta II Reticuli was known at the time to be 37 light years from Earth. There is the possibility that the outer rim means the outer rim of Zeta II Reticuli's solar system or they are   on the outer rim of somewhere else,  it could refer to the outer rim of a galaxy and if they had come from beyond the outer rim of the galaxy, it would be an unimaginably long journey to Earth. Another outer rim could be the Outer Rim human's territory. Is the Outer Rim before or after Zeta II Reticuli. Some might say that the Nostromo has almost reached Zeta II Reticuli and the Outer Rim is beyond that in the journey and others might acknowledge that.
    c) Incidently the dialogue referring to Zeta II Reticuli  here was written by Dan O'Bannon in his original Alien script, and given to a character named Broussard to say
    d) In Alan Dean Foster's Alien novelisation, a variation is found where Lambert says "Just short of Zeta II Reticuli. We haven't even reached the outer populated ring yet."(see Galactic Geography In The Alien Novelisation) (Alan Dean Foster novelisation, p22) 
  3. Dallas tells the rest of the crew that they are only "half way to Earth"
  4. In the script, Lambert said "based on the time spent getting to and from the planet and the speed and which it's moving away from the other"
  5. However she reveals that it is "ten months" to Earth
  6. a) The mention of six weeks returns when Ripley states at the end of the movie. "I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck the network should pick me up"
    b) Perhaps one might think "the frontier" is the "outer rim".
Southern sky constellations, Carina, Volans & Chamaeleon

b). Visual references
  1. As they attempt to find the position of the Nostromo, the computer begins to show charts of the Southern sky, and we see as blurs the names of the star systems Carina, Volans and Chamaeleon drifting past the screen, possibly because the lettering is curved, it's likely that they've used a popular southern planisphere from the 1970s as a basis for the star charts here and perhaps added other background elements. (Presently I assume that it must be the Philip's Planisphere (latitude 35 South) available in shops since they have also made use of Philip's Chart of the Stars in the production).
  2. Shortly Lambert looks at the navigation screen on the computer trying to work out where the Nostromo is. From a point marked possibly as N7117 to Sol, a curved line measures the amount of degrees to a point in the centre of the screen between the two positions and it turns out to be 106 degrees and it's right then that Lambert mentions that they're short of Zeta II Reticuli.
  3. N7117 on the map is at a higher longitude than Sol along this side of the galactic plane, Sol is quite a distance on the other side, and the long bar straight between them which the curve intersects appears to represent the horizontal path between the two points. 
  4. Whether N7117 is the position of the Nostromo or the star system from which they've left is not obvious to this writer. Perhaps the dust cloud outline in the background might give a clue if they could be matched up. What any of the letters and numbers on the screen refer to, apart from SOL is anyone's guess at this time. However in some of the other displays the animators were interested in making sure that they're personal signature found its way into the image since it was unlikely that they would get a personal screen credit.
Nostromo's navigation scre

c). Film makers references
  1. Ron Cobb the concept designer knew much about O'Bannon's concepts in his script and as far as he knew, the film took place "in an uncharted or unknown part of the galaxy" (Fantastic Film, July 1979, p30). In fact he would have liked it to have been a binary star system himself, although with stars different to the the known Zeta Reticuli system and as far as he knew the binary star system idea never survived. In reference to his early concept painting of a planetoid which showed the surface as seen from above covered in cloud with its two stars in the background, he went to say as far as "I wanted it to be planet, part of a double star system. You can see a white dwarf and a red giant in the background" (Future Life #23 December 1980, p61) 
  2. Dennis Lowe, who painted the scene with the planets had no idea that the star system was supposed to be part of a binary star system when he came to paint the rouge planet surrounded by it's moons was lit by its star (

d) See: Prometheus and Planet Zeta 2 Reticuli

Galactic Geography In The Alien Novelisation

leading from

a) The official novelisation of the Alien movie by Alan Dean Foster offers us a secondary source of speculation since it was written and released as the film at the time of the movie, however little is known about what of the dialogue was his own creative contribution.

b) Page 20, Kane gives an explanation of a possible reason why they can't work out where they are because they possibly came out of Hyperspace backwards and they were seeing Centauri at top amplification which would have been the direction where they were coming from and so Earth would be behind them. Perhaps in Alan Dean Foster's novelisation, they travelled through space from the direction of Alpha Centauri which is known to be 4.24 light years away from Earth, but of course from somewhere a lot further than that.

c) Page 22, a variation of
mbert's description of their location is "We're just short of Zeta II Reticuli. We haven't even reached the outer populated ring yet. Too deep to grab onto a navigation beacon, let alone a Sol traffic relay."

d) Whether Alan Dean Foster was lending his own interpretation to what the outer ring was or not, or if this was what he read in a version of the script that he had been given to novelise is still unknown.

Houston replaced by the Solomons

leading from
  1. Near the beginning of Alien,  Ripley attempts to hail Antartica Control over the galactic airwaves. "This is commercial towing vessel Nostromo, out of the Solomons". We might ask where in the cosmos the Solomons might be as if we were to assume this is where the ship had just come out from there. However later we find in a time line given in the Alien Quadrilogy set released in 2003 that a Space port established is in the Solomon Islands on planet Earth. The information in this time line for the characters we would assume is at least partly based on Ridley Scott's notes for the character's backgrounds that was going to be included with the original Alien dvd but never was. How much of the information is valid we don't know, because it includes additional information which would surely not have been included in Ridley's original notes. 
  2. A question might be about whether the fact that the Nostromo is a mining vessel out of the Solomons is a straight reference to the book King Solomon's Mines Sir H. Rider Haggard?  Nostromo and Kings Solomon's Mines both are set in a world where they're searching for precious metals and were published at the turn of the 19th/20th Century within 20 years of each other and maybe who ever invented the Solomon Islands space port idea simply took the reference into a different context afterwards.  No one is supplying an answer.
  3. In 2009, Alien's editor Terry Rawlings allowed documentary maker Dennis Lowe to scan his editing script. On page 8 of this copy of the script with extra information written in pen, Ripley is found to announce over the airwaves on the transmission unit, "This is commercial vessel Nostromo, out of Houston".  Although it was coming back from the another part of the galaxy beyond the outer rim, here scribbled in is the seemingly secret fact that reveals the Nostromo is being reported to have come out of a space port on Earth and so a quick idea was to add the name Houston and later a decision came to change it to the Solomons.

The "Middle Heavens"

leading from

In Scanlon and Gross' Book of Alien, they talk the design crew worked long hours to produce a realistic chart of the Middle Heavens which can be seen barely in the background. What they show in a photograph of the chart in the book is one that contains an image of the moon and at the bottom of that, the top of a translucent star chart bearing the enigmatic title "Stars of the Middle Heavens" which is indeed a copy of Philip's Chart Of The Stars,which can be found to bear the words "stars of the middle heavens, approximate dates when the sun reaches each hour of right ascension".

Philips' Chart of the Stars with Philips Planesphere

Why I am mentioning it is that it's likely that over the years since its publications, many people assumed that the area of space that the Nostromo was traveling through was named the "Middle Heavens".

The Fifth Galaxy

leading from

In the Alien script known to feature the Black Ship and the Cylinder, the Nostromo has been directed to a planet that the computer reveals is at the "co-ordinates 1482 to 61325 of fifth galaxy" (1)  Where the fifth galaxy is in relation to Earth is remains unknown but the journey to Earth remains 250 years.

  1. Alien script (Black Ship and Cylinder version) page 85, 
  2. This 250 year journey time length can be found also in the earlier scripts by Dan O'Bannon
  3. In August 1959 edition of the comic book World of Fantasy, issue 19, Vol 1 featured a story called  "Gargoyle From The Fifth Galaxy"

"The Tomita Planets"

Palenque Rocket Man from
"Chariots of the Gods" documentary

leading from

Voice Over: Days of delay precede our audience with the winged god of Palenque. He is not an easy gentleman to see. A dome of sweltering humidity hangs over virgin forest of Palenque. On our path to the sacred city of the Maya, we pass the cadavers of cattle with swarms of patient vultures wheeling over head.

After eight refusals, we are finally granted official permission to film this ancient celebrity. A sealed sepulchre is opened to us for a brief half hour. Up a steep flight of stairs and down into the even more stifling madness of the interior of the tomb

And there he is, captured for the first time on film, the winged god of Palenque, what the lens sees is so stunning that we must examine the details saperately. We see a man seated in a capsule intently watching something, his hands seem to be operating some undefinable controls, his foot is pressing a pedal. At the rear of the capsule, we see jets trailing flames behind them. Isn't this a typical position for an astronaut as we so well know it today. He seems to be dressed for the job, in trousers with a broad belt, a sort of jacket, tight fitting at the wrists, like coveralls. The chair is well upholstered to absorb the shock of acceleration. A figure before controls also dressed like an astronaut. Another jet trailing flames.

This stone deity say the Maya represents Kukulcan who came from the stars and returned there