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Archive for the ‘Shanghai’ Category

Extreme Metaphors: ‘A Launchpad for Other Explorations’

By • Feb 1st, 2014 •

Category: Extreme Metaphors, features, inner space, Lead Story, New Worlds, non-fiction, Salvador Dali, science fiction, Shanghai, Shepperton

To celebrate the new paperback edition of Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J.G. Ballard, here’s Simon Sellars’ introduction to the book, which explores the true power of Ballard’s conversational style.



‘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’.



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’.



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?



“Enthusiasm for the mysterious emissaries of pulp”: an interview with David Britton (the Savoy interviews, part 2a)

By • Feb 22nd, 2010 •

Category: audio, censorship, H.P. Lovecraft, Iain Sinclair, Ian Curtis, interviews, Lead Story, literature, music, New Worlds, punk, Savoy Books, Shanghai

The story of Savoy Books is one of the strangest in publishing history: a tale of lost opportunities, missed opportunities, repression, censorship, imprisonment … and, most importantly, an incredible legacy of work that continues to disturb, challenge and confront. All of those qualities are equally applicable to Savoy Records, the music arm of Savoy’s black empire, as Simon Sellars discovers when he talks to Savoy co-founder David Britton. The interview features sound clips from selected Savoy releases.



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.



Rick McGrath’s Letter From London: The JG Ballard Memorial

By • Nov 30th, 2009 •

Category: Ambit magazine, Chris Petit, features, film, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, R.I.P. JGB, Shanghai, Shepperton, Solveig Nordlund, Steven Spielberg, time travel, Toby Litt, Will Self, William Burroughs

“Greetings from London! Hope all is well with you. I’ve just attended the long-anticipated JG Ballard Memorial celebration at the Tate Modern and now I’m catching my breath — and a few beers — at a nearby Thames-side pub with fellow Ballardians. We’re having a wonderful time — wish you were here. But let’s start at the beginning. We have time to order some Alsatian off the barbie…” Love from Rick.



Miracles of Life: foreword to the Greek edition

By • Oct 19th, 2009 •

Category: autobiography, features, Lead Story, medical procedure, memory, Shanghai, time travel, WWII

This is the foreword to the Greek edition of Ballard’s Miracles of Life, to be published by Oxy in November 2009.



Conference paper on Ballard and ‘circular time’

By • Sep 29th, 2009 •

Category: academia, airports, alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, memory, Shanghai, time travel, WWII

I’m giving a paper on Ballard, circular time and the nouvelle vague this Thursday, October 1, at 3pm at ACMI in Melbourne, as part of the time.transcendence.performance conference. Come and say hello.



“Extreme Possibilities”: Mapping “the sea of time and space” in J.G. Ballard’s Pacific fictions

By • Aug 23rd, 2009 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, features, inner space, Japan, Lead Story, memory, micronations, nuclear war, Pacific, Shanghai, war, WWII

What’s the connection between J.G. Ballard, Hakim Bey and Fredric Jameson? Tracking Ballard’s surreal visions of nuclear conflict to Ground Zero in the Pacific, the paper maps his peculiar, irradiated sense of “affirmative dystopias”, a template for his more enduring urban works (famously, Crash) that, finally, intersects in striking ways with the writings of Bey and Jameson.



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 ♥ […]



‘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.



JGB: A 'billionaire' in Shepperton?

By • Jan 22nd, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, biography, celebrity culture, film, Shanghai, Shepperton

Thoughts on Ballard, fame and reclusiveness, and Shepperton.



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, Autopsy of the New Millennium: Press Release

By • Jul 22nd, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, Barcelona, dystopia, enviro-disaster, film, inner space, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, Shepperton, speed & violence, suburbia, surrealism, utopia, visual art, WWII

Press release with fuller information and accompanying images for JG Ballard, Autopsy of the New Millennium, opening today at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB).



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.



‘Obeying the surrealist formula': Iain Sinclair & Hermione Lee on Ballard

By • Feb 17th, 2008 •

Category: archival, autobiography, Iain Sinclair, interviews, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, Shepperton, speed & violence, surrealism, visual art, WWII

Here’s a transcription of the BBC Radio Front Row review of Miracles, presented by Mark Lawson and featuring Iain Sinclair and Hermione Lee.



‘Genius eye for the killer detail': Parsons, Harris & Myerson on Ballard

By • Feb 14th, 2008 •

Category: archival, autobiography, celebrity culture, interviews, Shanghai, Shepperton, Steven Spielberg, WWII

This one’s a transcript of BBC 2’s Newsnight Review segment on Miracles of Life. It features Tony Parsons, Julie Myerson and John Harris and is presented by Kirsty Wark.



‘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.



Miracles of Life (2008)

By • Feb 2nd, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, bibliography, non-fiction, Shanghai, Shepperton, WWII

From amazon.co.uk: Synopsis ‘Miracles of Life’ opens and closes in Shanghai, the city where J.G.Ballard was born, and where he spent the most of the Second World War interned with his family in a Japanese concentration camp. In the intervening chapters Ballard creates a memoir that is both an enthralling narrative and a detailed examination […]



‘This most astonishing penumbra': Will Self on J.G. Ballard

By • Feb 2nd, 2008 •

Category: archival, dystopia, interviews, science fiction, Shanghai, Shepperton, urban decay, Will Self, William Burroughs, WWII

Will Self was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4 by Mariella Frostrup about his admiration for J.G. Ballard’s work. Here’s a transcript of that interview.



New Ballard video interview

By • Jan 25th, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, Shanghai, Shepperton, WWII

Still from Hari Kunzru’s interview with J.G. Ballard. © Waterstone’s Books Quarterly. Waterstones is featuring a video interview with JGB, conducted by Hari Kunzru to promote Miracles of Life. There are no surprises here. Kunzru asks Ballard about the relationship of Miracles to JGB’s semi-autobiographical novels, Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women, […]



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.



Ask Ballard a Question

By • Dec 16th, 2007 •

Category: autobiography, Shanghai, WWII

From the BBC World Service: World Book Club – J.G. Ballard (Radio) (24 January, 2008) January’s guest is J.G. Ballard talking about his novel Empire Of The Sun with Harriet Gilbert and a studio audience. Each month an internationally renowned author discusses their most celebrated novel with presenter Harriet Gilbert. To be part of the […]



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) […]



From Toronto to Shanghai

By • Oct 2nd, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, deep time, Shanghai, Shepperton, travel

Above: the Ballard family’s former house, now lit up in the colours of capitalism. Photo: Rick McGrath. “Do you believe in synchronicity?” Andy asked. “That’s the 10 o’clock signal for today’s national anniversary. Sirens are blowing all over the country right now.” He leaned in, conspiratorially. “It was precisely 70 years ago today the Japanese […]



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 […]



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 […]



China Odyssey

By • Aug 18th, 2007 •

Category: autobiography, Ballardosphere, film, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, WWII, YouTube

Over on BallardoTube, the “China Odyssey” doco on the making of Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun has appeared. Ballard features prominently. Don’t forget part two. [ thanks Pedro! ]



Collecting "The Violent Noon" and other assorted Ballardiana

By • Feb 5th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, media landscape, politics, Shanghai, short stories

Left: Ballard’s author pic from the Varsity student newspaper (image & PDF courtesy Rick McGrath). Mike Holliday has uploaded J.G. Ballard — A Collector’s Guide, an in-depth information resource designed “as a ‘helping hand’ to anyone interested in collecting books, stories, and other material by the British author J. G. Ballard”. There’s a lot of […]



An Evening with J.G. Ballard

By • Sep 20th, 2006 •

Category: consumerism, humour, interviews, psychology, Shanghai, short stories, surrealism, terrorism

JG Ballard. Photo: Paul Murphy. On 14 September 2006 JG Ballard gave a reading from his new novel, Kingdom Come, and talked to Robert McCrum of the Observer at the Institute of Education, London — the evening was presented by Blackwell. Looking rather dapper and displaying a sharpness and wit that puts people half his […]



Empire of the Sun (1984)

By • Sep 16th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, media landscape, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, surrealism, WWII

OPENING LINE: “Wars came early to Shanghai, overtaking each other like the tides that raced up the Yangtze and returned to this gaudy city all the coffins cast adrift from the funeral piers of the Chinese Bund.” There’s not much left to say about the autobiographical Empire, perhaps Ballard’s most popular book and the work […]



J.G. Ballard Looks Back at Empire of the Sun

By • Mar 5th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, film, media landscape, non-fiction, Shanghai, Steven Spielberg, WWII

From the Guardian, Saturday March 4, 2006. “Look back at Empire JG Ballard waited 40 years before writing about his experiences in a Japanese internment camp. Here he remembers how Hollywood hijacked his childhood memories to create a deeply moving film. Memories have huge staying power, but like dreams, they thrive in the dark, surviving […]



Empire of the Sun: New JGB Interview

By • Feb 23rd, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, non-fiction, Shanghai, WWII

Over at the J.G. Ballard Yahoo Group, prominent Ballard scholar David Pringle informs us that the new 2006 paperback printing of JGB’s Empire of the Sun (the “Harper Collins Perennial Classic” edition) contains a new interview with JGB at the back of the book. As David says, “This covers mainly old autobiographical ground, about WWII, […]



J.G. Ballard Live in London

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: archival, censorship, consumerism, David Cronenberg, dystopia, film, gated communities, interviews, psychology, psychopathology, science fiction, sexual politics, Shanghai, television

Photo by Simon Sellars This transcript was first published in Sub Dee Magazine (no. 5 Summer 1997), a print project I was involved in long before Ballardian. At the time, J.G. Ballard’s career was in the ascendancy after what was perceived to be an average period in his writing. Cocaine Nights had just been released […]