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Archive for the ‘consumerism’ Category

‘Zones of Transition': Micronationalism in the work of J.G. Ballard

By • Dec 28th, 2012 •

Category: academia, airports, alternate worlds, CCTV, consumerism, death of affect, features, gated communities, Lead Story, Marc Auge, micronations, Shanghai, suburbia, surveillance, the middle classes, urban revolt

Simon Sellars re-reads Ballardian space in light of the idiosyncratic, real-world phenomenon of micronations, tracing parallels between Ballard’s physical and psychological spaces and Marc Augé’s idea of ‘non-place’.



RIP Elizabeth Taylor: A Ballardian Primer

By • Mar 25th, 2011 •

Category: alternate worlds, celebrity culture, consumerism, features, film, Lead Story, media landscape, sexual politics, WWIII

With the sad news of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, the time seems right to review the appearance of this enigmatic actress across a significant chapter in Ballard’s work, spanning the publication of the experimental story ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ in 1966 through to 1973 and the notorious Crash.



‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light’: the B-movie as second sight

By • Mar 15th, 2011 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, America, CCTV, computer games, consumerism, features, film, hyperreality, Jean Baudrillard, John Carpenter, Lead Story, media landscape, Roger Corman, science fiction, surveillance

What is the link between the film X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), directed by Roger Corman, the film They Live (1988), directed by John Carpenter, and the work of J.G. Ballard? Nothing less than the B-movie as a rearguard response to the gathering global and economic forces of late capitalism.



Fulfillment in a time of nihilism: John Gray and J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 27th, 2011 •

Category: consumerism, features, Lead Story, philosophy, religion, Shanghai, time travel, war, William Burroughs

The political theorist John Gray has long been an enthusiastic admirer of J.G. Ballard, and Ballard often expressed appreciation for Gray’s work. Mike Holliday examines the essental nature of this ‘two-man mutual admiration society’.



Myths of a Near Future: Simon Sellars, Bruce Sterling and V. Vale

By • Nov 15th, 2010 •

Category: Barcelona, body horror, boredom, Bruce Sterling, celebrity culture, consumerism, cyberpunk, deep time, features, inner space, Lead Story, New Worlds, Salvador Dali, surrealism, William Burroughs

Two years ago, Simon Sellars, Bruce Sterling and V. Vale appeared on a panel, ‘Myths of a Near Future’, to discuss the work of J.G. Ballard. Our friend Tim Chapman was in the audience and he has kindly transcribed the discussion. Here it is, two years late, but hopefully still of interest: ‘Myths of a Near Future’.



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?



Better Living through Psychopathology

By • May 16th, 2010 •

Category: academia, advertising, Ambit magazine, America, consumerism, features, inner space, media landscape, psychopathology, science fiction, space relics, visual art, WWIII

Examining Ballard’s artwork from the late 60s, Benjamin Noys uncovers a future that never took place. The image he focuses on appears as a very 60s image, yet it disjoints itself from that moment by its prescient refusal of the usual models of repression, liberation, and recuperation.



Review: Jeremy Reed’s West End Survival Kit

By • Feb 8th, 2010 •

Category: alternate worlds, biology, body horror, boredom, CCTV, celebrity culture, conspiracy theory, consumerism, cyberpunk, death of affect, entropy, Hawkwind, inner space, Lead Story, psychopathology, reviews, surrealism, surveillance, technology

A review-essay of Jeremy Reed’s latest collection of poetry, West End Survival Kit. The review also discusses the long and enigmatic relationship Reed has with Ballard, who wrote the foreword to the collection, where he paid tribute to Reed’s ‘extraterrestrial talent’.



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.



‘What exactly is he trying to sell?': J.G. Ballard’s Adventures in Advertising, part 2

By • May 8th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, Ambit magazine, consumerism, crime, Freud, Lead Story, media landscape, psychogeography, psychology

Rick McGrath continues to explore the aesthetic of the advertisement in J.G. Ballard’s work, from the early short stories right through to Kingdom Come.



‘What exactly is he trying to sell?': J.G. Ballard’s Adventures in Advertising, part 1

By • May 4th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, Ambit magazine, consumerism, features, invisible literature, media landscape, New Worlds, sexual politics, Shanghai, visual art

The aesthetic of the advertisement appears again and again in J.G. Ballard’s work. Here, Rick McGrath explores Ballard’s fascination with the structure of advertising, and the role of the advertising man himself, examining ersatz ads in detail right across the body of JGB’s work.



"Paradigm of nowhere": Shepperton, a photo essay (part 2)

By • Mar 5th, 2009 •

Category: autobiography, biography, boredom, consumerism, crime, deep time, features, flying, Iain Sinclair, inner space, perception, photography, psychogeography, psychopathology, Shepperton, suburbia, time travel

Finally: the long-delayed conclusion to my photo essay, ‘”Paradigm of nowhere”: Shepperton, a photo essay’, in which I aim for the traversal of a distinct psychic terrain: the blanket overlay of Shepperton with a mental template gleaned from so many Ballard novels and short stories.



'Naive allegory; messianic tendencies'

By • Jan 31st, 2009 •

Category: Ballardosphere, comics, consumerism

A Brazilian review of Kingdom Come — in the form of a comic strip.



‘Perverse Technology': Dan Mitchell & Simon Ford interview J.G. Ballard

By • Aug 15th, 2008 •

Category: archival, consumerism, Ernst, interviews, Marcel Duchamp, photography, psychopathology, Salvador Dali, sexual politics, speed & violence, surrealism, terrorism, the middle classes, visual art

Here’s another republished interview, this time from 2005 as Mitchell and Ford probe JGB about his infamous 1970 ‘Crashed Cars’ exhibition, which elicited drunken aggression from its bemused audience.



Kingdom of the Dead

By • Aug 5th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, America, Ballardosphere, body horror, consumerism, death of affect, film, gated communities, horror, humour, micronations, urban revolt

Parallels between Ballard’s Kingdom Come and Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.



Secure the parking lot; charge the mall

By • Jun 25th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, urban revolt, war

Kingdom Come, JoBurg style…



Strange Fiction

By • Jun 15th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, fascism, Iain Sinclair, sport, William Burroughs

New interview with Ballard in the Guardian.



Contemporary Critical Perspectives: J.G. Ballard

By • Jun 7th, 2008 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, consumerism, politics, sexual politics, speed & violence, terrorism, urban ruins

Info on a new volume of Ballard criticism, edited by Jeannette Baxter.



Goodbye America?

By • Jun 7th, 2008 •

Category: America, Ballardosphere, consumerism, cyberpunk, medical procedure

Over at Barnes & Noble, SF writer Paul Di Filippo tries to get America interested in Ballard.



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.”



‘I really would not want to fuck George W. Bush!': A Conversation with J.G. Ballard

By • May 17th, 2008 •

Category: America, archival, Bruce Sterling, consumerism, Germany, interviews, New Worlds, Philip K. Dick, politics, psychology, science fiction, short stories, surrealism, William Gibson, WWII

Dan O’Hara is back with another translation of a German Ballard interview, this time from 2007 with JGB in priapic, puckish form.



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.”



Virtual Death: The Game Show

By • Apr 18th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, boredom, CCTV, consumerism, death of affect, inner space, surveillance, television, YouTube

A man is trapped in an elevator for 41 hours, steadily losing his mind. But to you, he’s just another bug crawling around on a security-camera lens. What do you do?



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.



Dossier on Ralph Nader

By • Feb 27th, 2008 •

Category: America, Ballardosphere, consumerism, film, speed & violence

Here’s a dossier on presidential candidate Ralph Nader, courtesy of The Atrocity Exhibition.



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.



‘Marinaded in war and violence': Philip Dodd interviews J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 7th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, archival, autobiography, consumerism, interviews, Shanghai, Shepperton, WWII

Here’s a transcript of Philip Dodd’s recent BBC Radio 3 interview with JGB.



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.



Love among the mannequins

By • Jan 15th, 2008 •

Category: advertising, Ballardosphere, body horror, consumerism, death of affect, fashion, visual art

Here’s a new campaign from fashion label Dsquared2, featuring sex with crash-test mannequins. But it doesn’t appear to be selling anything. What exactly *is* it selling? Note the photographer: none other than our old mucker, Steven Meisel.



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.



Dead Models

By • Oct 31st, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, body horror, consumerism, fashion

Steve O. sent me a link to a photo shoot for America’s Next Top Model, on the subject of dead girls. It’s from March earlier this year, and even though seven months in the Ballardosphere is a very very long time, it still needs to be recorded. Steve writes, ‘I don’t know if this has […]



The Great Soporific

By • Oct 24th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, consumerism, inner space, travel

‘Tourism is the great soporific. It’s a huge confidence trick, and gives people the dangerous idea that there’s something interesting in their lives. It’s musical chairs in reverse. Every time the muzak stops people stand up and dance around the world, and more chairs are added to the circle, more marinas and Marriott hotels, so […]



'Mannequins Mauled in Store Wars': Best Headline Ever?

By • Oct 9th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, Ballardosphere, consumerism, fashion, urban revolt

The shop mannequin and the crash-test dummy have always held a privileged place in Ballard’s fiction. Battered, broken and discarded, they housed the streaky veins of alienation and despair that marked The Atrocity Exhibition. Rendered with Ballard’s clinical, amoral gaze, they evoked the terminal stylisation wreaked by technology in Crash. Fused by nuclear radiation into […]



Crisis Schism

By • Oct 9th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, urban revolt

Recently, a man was reported to have died after slashing his throat with a Stanley knife in a Woolworths store in the UK in front of horrified shoppers. While I am wary of making light of this poor man’s plight by straining to find Ballardian resonance in every instance of violent consumerism and despair in […]



Billennium Malls & Gated Communities

By • Oct 9th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, gated communities

Initially, this story reminded me just a little of Ballard’s ‘Billennium’, set in a severely overcrowded future in which a group of friends find uninhabited space sealed off from the oppressive density outside… Eight artists snuck into the depths of Providence Place mall and built a secret studio apartment in which they stayed, on and […]



Territories Reimagined

By • Aug 18th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, dystopia, entropy, psychogeography, urban decay, urban revolt, urban ruins, utopia

Please forward to anyone that may be interested … TRIP: Territories Reimagined: International Perspectives Manchester, 19-22 June 2008. Call for Papers and Projects * * Psychogeography * * * Neogeography * * * Deep topography * * * Urban interventions * * * Locative media * * * Collaborative Mapping * * * Between June […]



It's An Ad, Ad, Ad World

By • Jul 25th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, consumerism, fascism, reviews, suburbia, urban revolt

Former ad man Rick McGrath takes another look at Kingdom Come from ‘the perspective of marketing, advertising and psychopathology’. He also looks at the Metro-Centre website, used to promote the book, and asks, ‘The abattoir? Not too gloomy?’



The Terminal Bench and Other Stories

By • Jul 8th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, psychogeography, Shepperton, speed & violence

+ Three lovely Ballardian riffs… 1) Dan Lockton over at the awesome Architectures of Control, a blog that analyses the ways in which products are designed to restrict user behaviour, guides us through a new initiative at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5: the removal of seating so that patrons have no choice but to spend great […]



The Metro-Centre Comes Alive

By • Jun 27th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, Ballardosphere, consumerism, fascism, visual art

© Metro-Centre, 2007. Something is stirring over at our favourite shopping mall. After lying fallow for almost two months, the official blog of the Metro-Centre shopping centre in Brooklands stirs to life with a rather ominous poster campaign starring the failed talk-show host, David Cruise. First, we were promised that ‘the wait is almost over’. […]



‘The Stuff of Now': Toby Litt on J.G. Ballard

By • May 2nd, 2007 •

Category: Australia, consumerism, interviews, invisible literature, literature, medical procedure, suburbia, Toby Litt

Interview by Gwyn Richards & Simon Sellars Toby Litt is an English novelist who published his first book, Adventures in Capitalism (a volume of short stories), in 1996, when he was 28. He’s since won praise for the dark inventiveness of his writing, a combination of cinematic prose, apocalyptic imagery and sharp wit that freely […]



Ballard World Set for 2008 Opening

By • Apr 13th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, entropy, theme parks

Egyptian Ballard World: dead monorails hanging against the sky like guillotines (photo by Dubai Dave). Dickens World is set to open next week, according to this report. It’s a recreation of ‘a dark, dirty and dank London…populated by thieves, murderers and ghosts…[with an] air of authenticity as it was built in consultation with experts from […]



Ballardosphere Wrap-Up, Part 3

By • Mar 31st, 2007 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, crime, speed & violence, urban revolt

+ KILLING CARS Rich, car-crashing idiot No. 2: Stefan Eriksson. Over at The Wrong Advices, Dan writes, ‘After watching Eddie Griffin destroy a Ferrari Enzo I was reminded of some of the other times rich idiots have killed beautiful and expensive cars. I’ve put together a list of some of the more memorable crashes.’ My […]



Crimes of the Near Future: Baudrillard / Ballard

By • Mar 21st, 2007 •

Category: academia, consumerism, crime, features, invisible literature, Jean Baudrillard, media landscape, visual art

i.m. Jean Baudrillard by Benjamin Noys ———————————————————————————————————————- In the wake of Jean Baudrillard’s death, Ballardian presents Benjamin Noys’s essay exploring the ‘point of convergence between the writing of Jean Baudrillard and J.G. Ballard’. This is a slightly modified version of the article that appeared as ‘Crimes of the Near Future: Baudrillard / Ballard’, Ícone 9 […]



Super-Cannes Links

By • Mar 6th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, fascism, urban revolt

David Smith is a blogger who came to Ballard “very late”. Having just finished Super-Cannes, however, he has posted a collection of links, reviews and musings relating to that book. It’s a useful primer for anyone wanting to excavate more about one of Ballard’s darkest visions. Dig deep. Re-acquainting myself with these quotes, it’s interesting […]



‘Woefully Underconceptualised': Rick McGrath on J.G. Ballard’s Cover Art

By • Feb 28th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, boredom, consumerism, fashion, interviews, Philip K. Dick, Salvador Dali, visual art

Interview by Simon Sellars Rick McGrath is a writer and former adman. He is also the curator of what may be the world’s largest collection of J.G. Ballard first editions; he’s the ‘go-to man’ whenever a TV station or glossy mag does a rare feature on Ballard and needs some book covers. Rick has written […]



Structural Burglary

By • Feb 18th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, speed & violence, urban revolt

The infamous Texas Book Depository window, and the fatal frame from the Zapruder JFK assassination film. Abraham Zapruder was a tourist in Dealey Plaza whose amateur cine-film captured the President’s tragic death. The Warren Commission concluded that frame 210 recorded the first rifle shot, which wounded Kennedy in the neck, and that frame 313 recorded […]



More on Liddle and Ballard

By • Feb 12th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, Ballardosphere, consumerism, Iain Sinclair, Michael Moorcock, politics, sport

REMINDER: The ‘call for papers’ deadline for ‘Shanghai to Shepperton: An International Conference on J.G. Ballard’ is three days away. See here for details, and here for more on the conference. J. Carter Wood, over at Obscene Desserts, has posted a long and thoughtful rebuttal of Rob Liddle’s recent dismissal of Kingdom Come. I posted […]



Thom, Too

By • Feb 10th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, music

Mick over at Dead Flowers informs me that Thom Yorke has taken to quoting from Kingdom Come at the Radiohead group blog.