Archive for the ‘features’ Category

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.’

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.

'The Meaning, if Any, of Life': New Ballard Book

By • Oct 17th, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, features, Lead Story, medical procedure

Stunning news — a new book from JGB in the works: ‘Outline for a new book, working title Conversations with My Physician. The physician in question is oncologist Professor Jonathan Waxman of Imperial College, London, who is treating Ballard for prostate cancer. While it is in part a book about cancer, and Ballard’s struggle with it, it moves on to broader themes — indeed, the subtitle is The Meaning, if Any, of Life.’

Negative acoustic space: Ballardian sound art

By • Aug 2nd, 2008 •

Category: audio, Barcelona, features, music, urban decay, urban ruins

This short piece about Ballardian sound art appeared in the CCCB’s catalogue for their Ballard exhibition. Accompanying this post is a 12-track muxtape featuring selections from the music curated for the event.

Rick McGrath's Letter from Barcelona: The Exquisite Corpse, An Autopsy of the New Millennium

By • Jul 29th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, autobiography, Barcelona, David Cronenberg, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, features, gated communities, inner space, Lead Story, medical procedure, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, surrealism, visual art

Transmission from Barcelona stop Having a wonderful time stop I believe in nothing stop Lost in surreal image machine and deep-blue-drenched corridors stretching to infinity stop Startling comma perverse visuals stop Rare books and writing stop Exhibition a raging success stop JGB would be proud stop Full letter to follow comma Love Rick end transmission

Ballardoscope: some attempts at approaching the writer as a visionary

By • Jul 26th, 2008 •

Category: Alain Robbe-Grillet, America, autobiography, Barcelona, Bruce Sterling, deep time, drained swimming pools, features, flying, hyperreality, inner space, literature, medical procedure, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, Shepperton, space relics, speed & violence, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, technology, war, WWII

Jordi Costa, the curator of J.G. Ballard: Autopsy of the New Millennium, currently exhibiting at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, gifts us this incisive analysis of the major themes in Ballard’s work. Accompanying the essay is the alternate version of the exhibition’s promo trailer.

J.G. Ballard: In the Raw

By • Jul 22nd, 2008 •

Category: Barcelona, celebrity culture, dystopia, features, film, hyperreality, utopia, visual art, war

Promotional film and catalogue prologue for the exhibition J.G. Ballard: Autopsy of the New Millennium, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Film features Marilyn Monroe’s ghost, Ballard’s mellifluous tones, snatched Aphex Twin, what looks like James Dean’s car and a severe case of the night terrors.

Ballardcraft: Ballard/Lovecraft

By • Jul 16th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, features, H.P. Lovecraft, horror, Lead Story, Pacific, Savoy Books

What is the connection between J.G. Ballard and H.P. Lovecraft? Artist John Coulthart is well placed to offer some insight into what he terms ‘superficial style at the service of a unique imagination’.

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’.

Ballard and the Vicissitudes of Time

By • Jul 3rd, 2008 •

Category: America, deep time, features, flying, inner space, Lead Story, space relics, temporality, time travel, urban decay

Mike Holliday investigates a strange interregnum in Ballard’s career, three short stories that return to earlier concerns: psychological dislocations and disturbances, somehow caused by human space-flight, in our perception of the flow of time.

Coming Never: Richard Gere as Blake

By • May 7th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, America, Australia, David Cronenberg, features, film, Philip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, television, theatre

UPDATED. Aside from the films of Empire and Crash, Ballard has had almost all his novels optioned for the screen at some stage. Suitors include Richard Gere, Samuel L. Jackson, Jack Nicholson, David Frost and a trio of scantily-clad cavegirls.

Indexed out of existence…

By • May 2nd, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, censorship, features, humour, pastiche, short stories, Will Self

Is Woody Allen a Ballard fan? Lucy Vickery at The Spectator certainly is.

'Paradigm of nowhere': Shepperton, a photo essay (part 1)

By • Apr 26th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Australia, dystopia, features, flying, Lead Story, photography, sexual politics, Shepperton, suburbia, surrealism, utopia

In 2007 I toured Shepperton using Ballard’s Unlimited Dream Company as my guidebook. Here are the results of that neurological survey, born from the torsion of “every cell in my body waiting at the end of a miniature runway”.

1971: Year of the Drake

By • Apr 19th, 2008 •

Category: David Cronenberg, fashion, features, film, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, science fiction, YouTube

Here’s a tribute to Gabrielle Drake, a co-conspirator of Ballard’s and the undisputed Queen of both outer and inner space. All hail 1971, the Year of the Drake.

'The Crashman': An Experiment in Applied Internet Ballardianism

By • Apr 8th, 2008 •

Category: censorship, David Cronenberg, death of affect, features, film, flying, Freud, humour, Lead Story, media landscape, Michael Moorcock, music, psychopathology, speed & violence, sport, war, WWII, YouTube

Drawing inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s exhibition of crashed cars in 1970, the Crashman presents his own festival of Atrocity films: aviation disasters set to musical soundtracks.

The Ballardian Primer: Surveillance Cameras

By • Mar 14th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, CCTV, crime, death of affect, features, gated communities, suburbia, surveillance, technology

To celebrate the new version of the wonderful SurveillanceSaver software, here is The Ballardian Primer to Surveillance Cameras, with all quotes taken from Ballard and all images lifted from the Axis CCTV network.

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.

Ballardian Home Movies: The Final Cut

By • Mar 2nd, 2008 •

Category: competitions, dystopia, entropy, features, film, gated communities, humour, psychopathology, speed & violence, suburbia, suicide, surveillance, technology, television, urban decay, YouTube

Here are the entries in the 1st Ballardian Festival of Home Movies. Congratulations to the winner, Ben Slater.

Miracles of Life extract & interview

By • Jan 20th, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, features, Lead Story, Shanghai, WWII

The Times is featuring an extract from Ballard’s forthcoming autobiography, Miracles of Life. There’s also an accompanying interview, in which it’s revealed that Ballard has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

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.

J.G. Ballard: The Visual Tribute

By • Dec 28th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, David Cronenberg, entropy, enviro-disaster, features, Lead Story, short stories, visual art

Here’s a selection of visual art I’ve recently come across, all directly inspired by or referencing themes in Ballard’s work.

Sam Scoggins: 'Unlimited Dream Company' Film

By • Dec 22nd, 2007 •

Category: features, film, filmography, Lead Story, science fiction, Shepperton, surrealism

Sam Scoggins has finally digitised his ‘lost’ 1983 quasi-doco on Ballard, loosely structured around themes found in The Unlimited Dream Company. There are plans for ballardian.com to interview Sam, but for now, enjoy the film.

"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.

Grave New World: Introduction, Part 2

By • Nov 13th, 2007 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, features, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, Salvador Dali, science fiction, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, William Burroughs, WWII

by Dominika Oramus World’s first hydrogen bomb explosion, Eniwetok Atoll, 1952. Dominika Oramus teaches Brit.Lit. professionally at the University of Warsaw. The following is Part Two of the introduction to Grave New World: The Decline of the West in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard, her post-doctoral thesis. Grave New World currently exists as a (very) […]

Grave New World: Introduction, Part 1

By • Nov 5th, 2007 •

Category: academia, David Cronenberg, death of affect, dystopia, features, Iain Sinclair, Jean Baudrillard, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, psychiatry, Salvador Dali, science fiction, surrealism, technology, urban ruins, William Burroughs, WWII

Dominika Oramus reads Ballard’s work as a record of the gradual internal degeneration of Western civilization: though we are not literally living amidst the ruins, the golden age is far behind us and we are witnessing the twilight of the West.

Jeff Bartlett: Man for Our Times

By • Oct 9th, 2007 •

Category: body horror, David Cronenberg, death of affect, features, film, speed & violence

Some people get their kicks from braving a mob of blood-crazed shoppers to attack the nearest mannequin. But if that doesn’t appeal, why not exact virtual revenge? Keith emails to inform of one of the very best things online: a little feature over at ConsumerReports.org called the ‘Crash Test Selector’. It’s a series of films […]

Dream's Ransom: Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun

By • Sep 14th, 2007 •

Category: autobiography, David Cronenberg, features, film, filmography, flying, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, WWII, YouTube

Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun (more at YouTube.) by Pedro Groppo EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) Director: Steven Spielberg Screenplay: Tom Stoppard, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard Starring: Christian Bale, John Malkovich Whereas the sensibilities of J. G. Ballard and David Cronenberg, who directed Crash (1996), seem to overlap and complement […]


By • Sep 8th, 2007 •

Category: audio, Chris Marker, features, film, filmography, Iain Sinclair, Michael Moorcock, music, television, William Burroughs, YouTube

I’ve created a YouTube outpost for this site, divided into six channels: (1) J.G. Ballard Interviews; (2) J.G. Ballard Documentaries; (3) J.G. Ballard Adaptations; (4) J.G. Ballard’s Top Ten Science Fiction Films; (5) Ballardiana; and (6) Ballardian Sound Art/Music.

Shanghai Jim: Form Dictated by Time

By • Aug 27th, 2007 •

Category: deep time, features, film, filmography, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, WWII

ABOVE: Youtube uplink for Shanghai Jim (BBC Bookmark, 1991; produced by James Runcie). by Pippa Tandy SHANGHAI JIM (1991) Director/Producer: James Runcie Executive Producer: Nigel Williams Starring: J.G. Ballard, Michael Troughton, Hans Gebruers See here for a transcript of J.G. Ballard’s commentary from the film. DOCUMENTARY FILMS about the lives and works of artists have […]

Shanghai Jim: Voiceover Transcription

By • Aug 27th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, deep time, features, film, filmography, flying, Shepperton, WWII

ABOVE: Youtube uplink for Shanghai Jim (BBC Bookmark, 1991; produced by James Runcie). NOTE: The following is a transcription taken from J.G. Ballard’s commentary for the documentary Shanghai Jim. It also transcribes the film’s brief interviews with his daughters, Fay and Bea, and the film’s direct quotes from Ballard’s work. See here for Pippa Tandy’s […]

Crash! Full-Tilt Autogeddon

By • Aug 10th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Chris Petit, David Cronenberg, death of affect, features, film, filmography, Iain Sinclair, Philip K. Dick, posthumanism, psychogeography, speed & violence, William Burroughs

by Simon Sellars CRASH! (1971) Director: Harley Cokliss | Writer: J.G. Ballard Starring: J.G. Ballard & Gabrielle Drake I wasn’t satisfied by just writing SF stories, you see. My imagination was eager to expand in all directions.” J.G. Ballard. ‘From Shanghai to Shepperton’, 1982. Leached away by the camera lens, the dimension of depth is missing […]

Crash! Voiceover Transcription (1971)

By • Aug 10th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, death of affect, features, film, filmography, posthumanism, psychogeography, speed & violence

CRASH! (1971) from sdicht on Vimeo. ABOVE: Cokliss/Ballard on Vimeo. CRASH! Director: Harley Cokliss Writer: J.G. Ballard Starring: J.G. Ballard & Gabrielle Drake This a transcript of the meta-narration and voiceover from the film CRASH!. See here for ‘Crash! Full-Tilt Autogeddon’, an appraisal of the film. NARRATOR: In slow motion, the test cars moved towards […]

J.G. Ballard's Experiment in Chemical Living

By • Aug 1st, 2007 •

Category: advertising, features, invisible literature, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, Shepperton, William Burroughs

by Mike Bonsall J.G. Ballard in 1960. In the background is a poster of his ‘Project for a new novel’, made two years earlier. Chemistry & Industry … was a good place to work because, of course, the office of any scientific magazine is the most wonderful mail drop. It’s the ultimate information crossroads. Most […]

A Home and a Grave: Mike Holliday on The Unlimited Dream Company

By • Jul 17th, 2007 •

Category: fascism, features, flying, Shepperton

Cover detail: The Unlimited Dream Company (Cape 1979; artwork by Bill Botten). Mike Holliday explains how to read J.G. Ballard’s 1979 novel The Unlimited Dream Company as a fascistic work. Ambiguity is one of the defining features of J.G. Ballard’s fiction. Consider, for example: + Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women – […]

Thirteen to Centaurus

By • Jun 24th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, features, film, filmography, inner space, Philip K. Dick, science fiction, short stories, space relics

‘Thirteen to Centaurus’, directed by Peter Potter, is an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1962 short story of that name, produced as part of the BBC’s Out of the Unknown series of science-fiction dramatisations. But at that time film and television was just not capable of delivering the frisson that the best SF literature provided (it […]

The Rats that Ate Mill Park

By • Mar 27th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, boredom, dystopia, fascism, features, Jean Baudrillard, speed & violence, suburbia, urban revolt

by Simon Sellars Suburban Badlands: the Mill Park aftermath. Photo: Angela Wylie (from the Age newspaper). The system is self-regulating. It relies on our sense of civic responsibility. Without that, society would collapse. In fact, the collapse may even have begun.” ——————————————————————– J.G. Ballard. Millennium People (2003; p. 104). ——————————————————————– On the morning of 2 […]

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 […]

Collapsing Bulkheads: the Covers of Crash

By • Mar 12th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, Ballardosphere, David Cronenberg, fashion, features, visual art, William Burroughs

by Rick Poynor ‘Missing the point’: (detail, Livre de Poche edition, 1973; design: Atelier Pascal Vercken). NOTE: This is an edited version of an essay published in Designing Pornotopia: Travels in Visual Culture by Rick Poynor, Laurence King Publishing, 2006. First published in Eye no. 52, Summer 2004. Reproduced with permission. J. G. BALLARD’S Crash […]

Competition Winner: Starsky & Hutch, by J.G. Ballard

By • Dec 5th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, competitions, features, film, pastiche, television

Illustration by Rick McGrath. “Television crime series…were filled with their huge carapaces, swerving in and out of alleys, reversing in a howl of burning rubber. Watched with the sound down, episodes of Starsky and Hutch resembled instructional films on valet parking”. ———————– J.G. Ballard, 2005 ———————– Announcing the winner of our J.G. Ballard Pastiche competition, […]

David Cronenberg’s Alien — Novelization by J.G. Ballard

By • Oct 25th, 2006 •

Category: body horror, David Cronenberg, features, parody, pastiche, sexual politics

———————————————————————————— Lyle Hopwood uncovers a lost Ballard work, apparently the only surviving fragment from JGB’s novelization of David Cronenberg’s film of Alien, before the studio infamously got cold feet and replaced Cronenberg with Ridley Scott and Ballard with Alan Dean Foster. ———————————————————————————— It’s only the cat, Ripley. Squatting in the brine strained from the ore […]

Fantasy Kits: Steven Meisel’s State of Emergency

By • Sep 25th, 2006 •

Category: fashion, features, Jean Baudrillard, sexual politics, terrorism, William Burroughs

‘Obscene mannequins’. ‘Conceptual deaths’. The eroticisation of violence in the media landscape… the stunning ‘State of Emergency’ spread in the current Vogue Italia seems to come straight out of JG Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition… Guest post by Mark Fisher (k-punk) A few weeks ago, I asked whether it would be possible ‘for there to be a […]

Critical Mass: Sound, Story and Music in David Cronenberg's Crash

By • Jun 29th, 2006 •

Category: Australia, Brian Eno, David Cronenberg, features, film, music

As part of our Ballardian Music series, Cat Hope looks back at Howard Shore’s soundtrack for the David Cronenberg adaptation of Crash. —————————————————————————————————————- Cat Hope is an Australian musician and academic, based in Perth, Western Australia. Besides performing in the bands Lux Mammmoth and Gata Negra, she also performs solo noise music using bass guitar. […]

Can We Ever Escape This Death Drive?

By • Jun 28th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, death of affect, entropy, features, media landscape, politics, terrorism

One of the sources for the death of affect is the distancing from community and a sense of shared existence brought about by the technological management of reality. There is a central paradox here: while the technical construction of collective time (through the engineered events in the media) tends to produce an instant ‘real-time’ that […]

My Dream of Flying to Tinian Island

By • May 30th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, consumerism, features, sexual politics, suicide, WWII

Military church, Tinian, © Dan Norton 2006 Thanks to Iain X from the JGB Mailing List for this link, a series of photos taken by a ‘seabee’ stationed on the North Pacific, Micronesian island of Tinian during WWII. As the site’s author, Dan Norton, says, “These photos were developed by my grandfather in his clandestine […]

Another Atrocity: A 'New' Work by J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 17th, 2006 •

Category: Borges, features, medical procedure, pastiche

The Atrocity Exhibition is a collection of J.G. Ballard’s most extraordinary short stories. Written in the few years following the tragic death of his wife, they are his most difficult work, representing the extremes of anguish, desire, alienation and horror. Compact and repetitive, they pick over the same questions of psychopathology, sexuality and death in […]

Jimmy Ballard's Hospital Review

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: alternate worlds, features, medical procedure, pastiche, Salvador Dali

What might have happened if J.G. Ballard had used his medical training to its fullest potential and become a doctor rather than a writer? Well, there would be no pen name for a start; ‘Jimmy Ballard’ would be a different man indeed, as Johnny Strike discovers. In this fascinating snapshot into an alternate Ballardian universe, […]

Heathrow Hilton

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: architecture, features, photography

Photos from a recent sojourn (en route to Singapore and Bali) at Ballard’s favourite location, the Heathrow Hilton. “The Heathrow Hilton, designed by Michael Manser, is a masterpiece. It is my favourite building in London, and keeps alive the spirit of the 20th century’s greatest architect, Le Corbusier. Beautifully proportioned, it resembles a cross between […]

J.G. Ballard's Enlargement Phalloplasty

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, features, medical procedure, pastiche, Steven Spielberg

by Kristoph Eggleston J.G. Ballard photo courtesy of Steve Double This is a work of fiction concerning one of the 20th-century’s more controversial writers, J.G. Ballard. It utilises the method Ballard himself employed as part of a short piece in the RE/Search reprint of his Atrocity Exhibition collection. In that piece, “Mae West’s Reduction Mammoplasty”, […]