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Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Cosmic Sentinels and Spiral Jetties: J.G. Ballard, Robert Smithson & Tacita Dean

By • Mar 3rd, 2013 •

Category: architecture, deep time, features, film, Lead Story, Robert Smithson, Tacita Dean, temporality, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Tacita Dean’s new film, JG, is currently on view at the Arcadia University Art Gallery. JG is inspired by Dean’s correspondence with J.G. Ballard, and explores connections between his short story ‘The Voices of Time’ and Robert Smithson’s iconic earthwork and film Spiral Jetty. To celebrate Dean’s new work, Andrew Frost explores the enduring and mysterious relationship between Ballard, Smithson and Dean.



‘Human or other; depends who comes’: the Ballardian films of Paul Williams

By • Oct 19th, 2010 •

Category: Abu Dhabi, architecture, features, film, Lead Story, paranormal, travel, urbanism, utopia

Introducing the incredible short films of Paul Williams, who, stationed in Abu Dhabi, mines a unique nexus of Ballard, Islam, rampant development, industrial isolation and subsonic hums.



The Edgelands: ‘where the future waits to happen’

By • Oct 4th, 2010 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, Marion Shoard, urban decay, urban ruins

There’s a brief Ballard mention in my latest photo-essay, ‘Postcards from the Edgelands (for Marion Shoard)’, originally published in Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, Katrina Stoll & Scott Lloyd (eds), Berlin: Jovis, 2010. The essay uses the work of one of my main influences, the environmentalist Marion Shoard, and her research into the ‘edgelands’ (‘the interfacial interzone between urban and rural’), in order to address Infrastructure as Architecture’s main enquiry: is the involvement of architects necessary to shape the development of infrastructural design?



Affirmative architectural dystopias

By • Aug 23rd, 2010 •

Category: academia, architecture, Ballardosphere, enviro-disaster

Next week, I’ll be speaking on ‘affirmative architectural dystopias’ at Monash University’s conference Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe. I’m on a panel representing Pia Ednie-Brown’s Plastic Futures project at the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, RMIT University. My paper is centred around the theories of François Roche, Greg Lynn and Ballard, but it also considers the work of Nic Clear, Archigram, Bruce Sterling, Geoff Manaugh and Marion Shoard.



Ballardian Architecture: Inner and Outer Space

By • Aug 17th, 2010 •

Category: academia, architecture, brutalism, features, Guy Debord, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, modernism, photography, Shanghai, spectacle, W.G. Sebald

Via Static TV, film of discussions at the Ballardian Architecture: Inner and Outer Space symposium, Royal Academy of Arts. The event was chaired by Jeremy Melvin and speakers included John Gray, Nic Clear, David Cunningham, Nigel Coates, Matthew Taunton, Chris Hall, Joanne Murray, Dan Holdsworth, Tim Abrahams and Claire Walsh.



A Fascist State? Another Look at Kingdom Come and Consumerism

By • Jul 7th, 2010 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Bentall Centre, celebrity culture, consumerism, dystopia, fascism, features, Lead Story, media landscape, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, speed & violence, sport, surrealism

Ballard’s final novel, Kingdom Come, a dystopian account of consumerism as a type of ’soft fascism’, received lukewarm reviews and suggestions that the author was, perhaps, finally losing his touch. Others were eager to point to parallels between it and events around us: aggressive car commercials, racist behaviour by sports fanatics. In this article, Mike Holliday re-examines Kingdom Come and asks: can we really equate consumerism with fascism?



The Office Park

By • Jan 18th, 2010 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, CCTV, death of affect, dystopia, features, gated communities, Jean Baudrillard, Lead Story, leisure, non-place, photography, psychopathology, surveillance, technology, theme parks

Nicholas Cobb’s architectural model of a corporate campus, photographed with a malevolent, dystopian flair, and exploring parallel themes to Ballard’s Super-Cannes.



Ballardian.com’s ‘Top 10′ lists for 2009

By • Jan 4th, 2010 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Ballardosphere, film, invisible literature, sexual politics

Probably of no interest to anyone but me, but here goes: top 10 most-read posts on ballardian.com in 2009; top 10 search-engine phrases leading visitors to the site in 2009; and top 10 links from other sites in 2009.



A Near Future: Nic Clear’s Tribute to JG Ballard

By • Dec 28th, 2009 •

Category: academia, airports, alternate worlds, architecture, audio, body horror, dystopia, enviro-disaster, features, Lead Story, R.I.P. JGB, Shanghai, urban ruins, utopia, WWII

JG Ballard’s writing encompassed topics as diverse as ecological crisis, technological fetishism, urban ruination and suburban mob culture. In this extract from the September-October issue of Architectural Design, Nic Clear explores how Ballard’s understanding of architecture and architects made him one of the most important figures in the literary articulation of architectural issues and concerns.



Stereoscopic Urbanism: JG Ballard and the Built Environment

By • Nov 14th, 2009 •

Category: architecture, audio, features, inner space, Lead Story, perception, psychogeography, urban decay

The fiction of JG Ballard was centred almost wholly on the built environment. Ballard took architectural design to its logical extreme and then contorted it further. Simon Sellars looks at how architects can learn from Ballard and, specifically, his use of urban sound as a metaphor.



Iterative Architecture: a Ballardian Text

By • Jul 23rd, 2009 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, America, architecture, death of affect, deep time, features, film, inner space, invisible literature, Lead Story, memory, New Worlds, pastiche, perception, Shanghai, short stories, time travel, WWII

Readers hoping to solve the mystery of J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Beach Murders’ may care to approach it in the form of a card game. Some of the principal clues have been alphabetized, some left as they were found, scrawled on to the backs of a deck of cards. Readers are invited to recombine the order of the cards to arrive at a solution. Obviously any number of solutions is possible, and the final answer to the mystery lies forever hidden.



Iterative Architecture: a Ballardian Text, part 2

By • Jul 23rd, 2009 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, America, architecture, death of affect, deep time, film, inner space, invisible literature, memory, New Worlds, pastiche, perception, Shanghai, short stories, temporality, time travel, WWII

‘Iterative Architecture: a Ballardian Text’ by Brian Baker ..:: CONTINUED from >> Part 1 ::… ♣♠♥♦ The Joker. The Joker in the pack is the card that, in some games, can replace (or substitute for, take the place of) any of the others. In this sense, the Joker is the empty sign. ♣♠♥♦ Hearts ♥ […]



Michael Jackson’s Facelift

By • Jul 2nd, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, body horror, celebrity culture, consumerism, features, horror, Lead Story, medical procedure, Michael Jackson, pastiche, science fiction

“As Michael Jackson reached middle age, the skin of both his cheeks and neck tended to sag from failure of the supporting structures. His naso-labial folds deepened, and the soft tissues along his jaw fell forward. His jowls tended to increase. In profile the creases of his neck lengthened and the chin-neck contour lost its youthful outline and became convex.”



Crown Casino: ‘A snarling, digitised mutilation’

By • May 27th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, alternate worlds, architecture, audio, Australia, boredom, CCTV, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, fascism, features, hyperreality, Lead Story, leisure, micronations, occult, perception, photography, psychogeography, schizophrenia, surveillance, temporality, time travel, utopia

Simon Sellars, Mel Chilianis and Melb Psy take an audiovisual tour of Melbourne’s Crown Casino, seeking to map the coordinates of this micronational zone — consumer-driven control space with a raging need.



'Architectures of the Near Future': An Interview with Nic Clear

By • Dec 24th, 2008 •

Category: academia, architecture, enviro-disaster, film, Fredric Jameson, interviews, Jean Baudrillard, politics, urban ruins, utopia, war

Nic Clear leads the remarkable Unit 15 course on the built environment at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. In this interview, Nic explains the course’s focus on the work of Ballard as a way to counter the lamentable state of current discourse on architecture. The article includes clips of six stunning films produced by students as part of this Ballard-inspired methodology.



Dubai Ballard World

By • Dec 12th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, Dubai, entropy, enviro-disaster, theme parks

Announcement of the new Ballard World theme park in Dubai, following on from the Egypt, London and Shanghai versions.



Drained Granny Pools

By • Dec 11th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, drained swimming pools

A group of Sydney architects are doing their best to rob us of a Ballardian future.



The Real Concrete Island?

By • Dec 3rd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, features, psychogeography, speed & violence, WWII

Mike Bonsall sets out on a mission to find The Real Concrete Island, and is surprised by what he finds: ‘Ballard must have walked the same streets that years later I was to haunt with my own damaged crew. Living within sight of the Westway, which I felt must have helped form his motorway mythology, I was moved to do some geo-detective work…’



K08 Sequel: 'Galactic Eyes'

By • Nov 18th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Australia, Barcelona, CCTV, features, flying, Lead Story

A man shrugs off the clucking of his family and makes his way to International Departures. With the ticketing formalities over, he slumps at the bar and orders drinks. A flat, synthetic boarding call and he remembers his trip: ‘Last call for Silverwing 501. Please make your way to Gate 23.’



Feral architecture

By • Nov 14th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, film, science fiction

BLDGBLOG on Ballard, resampled architecture, homogenous global space and Michael Winterbottom.



Kosmopolis 08: Landing Gear

By • Nov 11th, 2008 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, architecture, Barcelona, celebrity culture, crime, features, Futurists, inner space, Lou Reed, media landscape, Salvador Dali, surrealism, theme parks, Toby Litt, visual art

I’ve finally captured my impressions of Barcelona and Kosmopolis, with main ingredients: Lou Reed, Claire Walsh, Laurie Anderson, Kafka, Brecht, Dali, brilliant public space, Ballard, and the sheer unbridled thrill of one of the most amazing cities in Europe.



Kosmopolis 08: Switching stations

By • Oct 25th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Australia, Barcelona, body horror, Chris Marker, deep time, features, flying, posthumanism, psychopathology

Here are some preliminary thoughts from the city of Barcelona, where I am appearing on a panel to talk about the work of J.G. Ballard as part of the Kosmopolis literary festival.



Spanish Ghost Cities

By • Oct 15th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, drained swimming pools, entropy, urban decay

Solveig Nordlund’s Ballard adaptation, Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude, is rooted in reality, as this report on Spain’s ghost towns demonstrates.



'Brecht Meeting Ballard': Militant Modernism

By • Oct 14th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere

Announcement for Owen Hatherley’s new book, Militant Modernism.



Unique visual complexities: A review of Grande Anarca

By • Aug 19th, 2008 •

Category: Ambit magazine, animation, architecture, Chris Marker, David Cronenberg, film, Italy, literature, medical procedure, religion, reviews, short stories, Steven Spielberg, surveillance, Tarkovsky, urban decay

Jamie Sherry reviews a unique on-screen adaptation of Ballard’s work, now showing on BallardoTube: the Italian animation, Grande Anarca, based on JGB’s 1985 short story, ‘Answers to A Questionnaire’. Can the filmmakers succeed where other, big-name suitors have failed — decanting Ballard’s experimental literary narratives into a more linear cinematic language? Or does Ballard resist classification yet again?



Escaping the gaze: A review of John Foxx's Tiny Colour Movies

By • Aug 7th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, America, architecture, CCTV, Chris Marker, Chris Petit, film, Iain Sinclair, invisible literature, John Foxx, media landscape, music, reviews, YouTube

This is a review of John Foxx’s Melbourne performance of Tiny Colour Movies, his found-film collection and live soundtrack. For the reviewer, witnessing this may have solved a two-year-old puzzle; certainly, it brought everything full circle back to Ballard.



Tribute to J.G. Ballard & Brian Eno

By • Jul 16th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, Brian Eno, leisure, music, utopia

Ballard & Eno: quite possibly the ‘two greatest British thinkers of the second half of the 20th Century’.



Surreal Urban Worlds

By • Jul 10th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere

London film screening featuring ‘futuristic visions of London’ and ‘surreal urban worlds’.



A Ballardian Burial

By • Jul 9th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, enviro-disaster, features, kode9, music

The music of kode9 and Burial: just how ‘Ballardian’ is it? We investigate the viral spread of this apparent internet meme, detouring via Crash, The Drowned World and ‘The Sound-Sweep’.



Drained London

By • Jun 30th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, drained swimming pools, entropy, photography, Shanghai, urban decay, visual art

Drained swimming pools are a staple in Ballard’s work, and also the subject of photographer Gigi Cifali’s latest series.



Flooded London

By • Jun 29th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, deep time, enviro-disaster, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Film and media studio floods London 82 years hence, evokes Ballard.



'Engineering the moral order': Strange Housing Communities

By • Jun 16th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Australia, Ballardosphere, CCTV, gated communities, micronations, paranormal

Where can one find the world’s strangest housing communities? Here is a handy list.



The Light-Painter of Mojave D: An Interview with Troy Paiva

By • Jun 6th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, America, architecture, deep time, entropy, enviro-disaster, flying, interviews, Lead Story, Philip K. Dick, photography, science fiction, speed & violence, surrealism, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Troy Paiva’s desert photography evokes the crumbling, decadent resorts and enervated cityscapes of Ballard’s Vermilion Sands and Hello America stories. Enjoy this interview with Troy, the Light-Painter of Mojave D.



Bluewater, Round 2

By • May 28th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, Iain Sinclair, leisure, suburbia, the middle classes, utopia

More Bluewater, less Ballard according to Michael Collins.



Your mission…

By • May 27th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, crime, Iain Sinclair, terrorism, urban revolt

“Iain, I want you to blow up Bluewater.”



Zodiac 3000

By • Apr 22nd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, deep time, photography, psychology, Salvador Dali, sexual politics, speed & violence, surrealism, visual art

For this upcoming exhibition, the International Project Space in Birmingham will be transformed into the J.G. Ballard Centre for Psychopathological Research, “an institute built to interrogate the New Psychology explored in Ballard’s fiction.”



False Space & Time of the Apartment

By • Apr 15th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, visual art

Information on a forthcoming exhibition at The University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities, inspired by Ballard and The Atrocity Exhibition.



'Vomit, violence, tabloid architecture…'

By • Mar 11th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Australia, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, fascism, media landscape, micronations, psychology, sport, television, urban revolt

MelbPsy gets all Atrocity Exhibition on the House that Sam Newman built, the ‘tabloid architecture’ sheathing yet another backyard Aussie micronation.



The Ballardian Primer: Car Parks

By • Mar 6th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, consumerism, features, Iain Sinclair, psychogeography, Shepperton, suburbia

I’ve been asked to contribute to a documentary on car parks. Here then, as preparation, is my Ballardian Primer to Car Parks, with quotes from Ballard’s novels.



Porcine Psychopathology

By • Feb 12th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, Chris Marker, consumerism, Iain Sinclair, photography, urban ruins

infinite thØught takes a Ballard-inspired tour of Bluewater, one of the inspirations for JGB’s Kingdom Come.



'Enigmatic Engineering' in The Wind from Nowhere

By • Feb 9th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, comics, Japan, manga

Could it really be possible that a Japanese manga artist was influenced by J.G. Ballard’s most obscure novel?



Over to you…

By • Feb 3rd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, fashion, photography, sexual politics, Shanghai, speed & violence, surveillance, travel, urban revolt, visual art

This post is given over to recent links readers have sent me. ‘Ballardian’ or not? You decide.



An American architecture critic in London: BLDGBLOG crosses the pond

By • Jan 23rd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, film

Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG fame is giving a lecture tonight at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, home of the innovative built-environment module, Unit 15, led by Nic Clear and Simon Kennedy. I’m sure Ballard will pop up somewhere in Geoff’s talk. Not only have I previously interviewed Geoff about the intersections between JGB […]



‘You are Hochhaus!’: Ballard in Berlin

By • Jan 9th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Chris Marker, David Cronenberg, dystopia, entropy, fascism, film, gated communities, Germany, interviews, Steven Spielberg, urban decay, urban revolt, urban ruins, utopia, WWII

Dan O’Hara interviews the creators of Hochhaus, a German mixed-media radio play based on High-Rise. Transposing the novel to Berlin in 2013, it references Nazism, notably Speer’s social engineering through architecture, on its way to exploring Ballard’s relevance to speculative models of German life.



J.G. Ballard & Architectures of Control

By • Jan 3rd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, censorship, dystopia, fascism, features, Lead Story, psychology, speed & violence

According to Dan Lockton, one of the many ‘obsessions’ running through Ballard’s work is the effect of architecture on the individual. More than playful psychogeography, Ballard dissects architectural influence on his characters with technical precision.



BLDGBLOG: Kim Stanley Robinson

By • Dec 22nd, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, enviro-disaster, utopia

Geoff has posted a fabulous interview with monumental SF/utopian author Kim Stanley Robinson over at BLDGBLOG. Robinson responds to Geoff’s fresh perspective…



"A fierce and wayward beauty": Waste in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard, Part III

By • Dec 18th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, dystopia, entropy, enviro-disaster, Jean Baudrillard, Lead Story, speed & violence, urban decay

According to William Viney, Crash presents a barrage of images that expresses collapse, dereliction, and waste; a seemingly endless carnival of sex and destruction; intoxicating, perverting, and desensitizing the reader, while Empire of the Sun can be seen as the terminus of Ballard’s treatment of waste, the epitome of all that has gone before. Although Ballard’s other works deal with the subject of death and the disposal of corpses, Empire of the Sun attempts to cope with this disposal on a mass-scale, or rather, during both war and peace, it explores the complex transition between the valued human being and lifeless, disposable cadaver.



"A fierce and wayward beauty": Waste in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard, Parts I & II

By • Dec 11th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, dystopia, entropy, enviro-disaster, features, Lead Story, speed & violence, urban decay

William Viney explores how High-Rise, Concrete Island, and “The Ultimate City” contain familiar visual landscapes. However, each of these recognisable aspects of urban experience is rendered unfamiliar through the pervasive renegotiation of waste categories.



An Archaeological Find

By • Dec 4th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, consumerism, death of affect, features, Fredric Jameson, Futurists, media landscape, science fiction, speed & violence, technology

Recently, Toronto’s Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy passed on to Rick McGrath a binder containing a slew of Canadian JGB reviews, Ballardian esoterica and the jewel in the crown: a long, unpublished interview with Ballard from 1974.



'Who sees everything, becomes sad'

By • Dec 2nd, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, Germany, psychogeography

Here’s an interview with Ballard fom June this year. It was conducted by Alexander Gutzmer and published by Welt Online. As far as I know it completely bypassed the English-speaking world. Not even the hardest of the hardcore Ballardians that have crossed my path have referenced this (I only found it through my site stats, […]