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Archive for the ‘surveillance’ Category

“Nothing to See Here”: a Film by Paul H Williams

By • Jan 14th, 2018 •

Category: Abu Dhabi, airports, alternate worlds, CCTV, Dubai, film, flying, hyperreality, Lead Story, memory, non-place, perception, surveillance

In 2010, ballardian.com published a series of short films made by Paul H Williams on location when he was working in Abu Dhabi. He was working on surveillance systems there, some kind of government contract. Micro-movement fascinated him. He filmed the Abu Dhabi cityscape at night, the million pinpricks of light across its multitude of construction sites and half-formed buildings. In the morning, he filmed the clouds from the top of his mega-hotel as they slowly swathed the highest skyscrapers, and then again as they evaporated in the Gulf’s nuclear heat. At ground level, he filmed the red-orange sand blowing over the highway, which covered the road so completely that the tarmac was no longer visible. Then he filmed the sand drifting away, slowing down the footage as if the tarmac was being revealed in an archaeological dig thousands of years in the future. Now, Paul returns with the one shocking film he couldn’t bring himself to make public back then. It is the final conclusion to his Abu Dhabi mission. PROJECT CANCELLED.



Mad Max: ‘Punk’s Sistine Chapel’ – A Ballardian Primer

By • Apr 3rd, 2015 •

Category: Applied Ballardianism, Australia, autogeddon, features, Lead Story, post-apocalypse, speed & violence, surveillance, urban decay

Fury Road, the fourth film in the Mad Max series, is released on 15 May. Ballard loved Mad Max 2, going so far as to anoint it ‘Punk’s Sistine Chapel’. To celebrate George Miller’s latest masterpiece, we are proud to present this Ballardian primer to the Mad Max Universe.



‘No Original Response’: J.G. Ballard predicts Social Media, CCTV, Reality TV

By • Jul 3rd, 2013 •

Category: alternate worlds, Applied Ballardianism, Bruce Sterling, CCTV, celebrity culture, dystopia, features, Gilles Deleuze, hyperreality, Lead Story, media landscape, reality TV, science fiction, surveillance, television, William Gibson, YouTube

A post at Buzzfeed has been doing the rounds this week, on how J.G. Ballard “predicted social media in 1977″. According to Buzzfeed, “he made this uncanny observation in a Vogue essay”. Here’s Simon Sellars’ response, in text excerpted from his forthcoming book Applied Ballardianism, about life through a Ballardian lens. Read on for Ballard’s disturbing warning about the dangers that await when we have the capacity to broadcast “the inside of our heads”…



‘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’.



In Defence of the Virtual: A Secret History of Ballardian Film Adaptations

By • Mar 12th, 2012 •

Category: alternate worlds, CCTV, Chris Marker, David Cronenberg, features, film, Lead Story, Philip K. Dick, Shepperton, Solveig Nordlund, surveillance

Recently, it was announced that Christian Bale was returning to Ballard, set to star in Brad Anderson’s version of Concrete Island. But given the recent hype surrounding Vincenzo Natali’s proposed adaptation of High-Rise, and the non-appearance of that film, is this destined to be yet another ‘vapourware’ adaptation, joining the long string of phantom Ballard films ‘starring’ Jean Seberg, Richard Gere and Samuel L. Jackson? And is that such a bad thing?



‘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.



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’.