HOME ABOUT INTERVIEWS REVIEWS FEATURES BLOG ARCHIVAL BIBLIOGRAPHY CONTACT TWITTER BOOKSHOP

Archive for the ‘urban decay’ 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.



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?



Simon O’Carrigan’s The Drowned World

By • Mar 28th, 2010 •

Category: animation, entropy, enviro-disaster, features, Freud, Lacan, Lead Story, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Ballardian.com presents selections taken from artist Simon O’Carrigan’s mixed-media series “The Drowned World”, a title taken in reference to a speculative fiction that inspired much of the imagery in this work: J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World.



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.



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.



'Like Alice in Wonderland': Solveig Nordlund on J.G. Ballard

By • Aug 24th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Barcelona, biology, body horror, film, flying, interviews, medical procedure, short stories, Solveig Nordlund, urban decay, YouTube

Rick McGrath interviews Solveig Nordlund about her feature film, Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude (2002). Based on JGB’s short story, ‘Low-Flying Aircraft’, it’s arguably the best Ballard adaptation of them all, although it has rarely been shown outside Portugal. Included with the interview are clips from the film as well as from Solveig’s previous Ballard adaptation, ‘Journey to Orion’ (based on ‘Thirteen to Centaurus’).



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?



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



‘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.



‘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.



"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.



Lost America

By • Sep 26th, 2007 •

Category: America, Ballardosphere, photography, urban decay

Above: ‘The Staircase’, by Troy Paiva, 2005. ‘Byron Hot Springs Hotel, Byron California. Built in the 1930s, used for POW interrogations during WWII. Abandoned for decades, many say it’s quite haunted. It IS noisy at night in there . . . Night,full moon, dark interior, blue and red-gelled strobe flash. Canon 20D.’ The brilliant work […]



Review: Grave New World

By • Aug 20th, 2007 •

Category: academia, death of affect, dystopia, entropy, Jean Baudrillard, reviews, urban decay

The basic tenet in Dominika Oramus’ new book on Ballard is that since the end of World War II western civilization has been merrily racing down the Highway to Hell in a white Pontiac; and all the evidence you need is in the fiction of J.G. Ballard.



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 […]



Future Ruins

By • Jun 16th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, psychogeography, urban decay, visual art

Future Ruins: Michelle Lord © 2007. Michelle Lord has emailed me with some more information and stills from her show ‘Future Ruins’, now exhibiting at The Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret St., Birmingham B3 3BS UK. It’s on from June 15-23 and is part of Architecture Week 2007; see www.architectureweek.org.uk for further details. I’m fascinated […]



Archaeological Finds

By • May 22nd, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, dystopia, enviro-disaster, inner space, Shepperton, urban decay, urban ruins

Self-portrait: next to the M3 in Shepperton (photo: Simon Sellars). Apologies for the down time this site has experienced since the Ballard conference. I’m still in England where I’ve experienced many Ballardian and sub-Ballardian moments (and even some non-Ballardian moments, would you Adam and Eve it?) including exchanging views on ‘torture porn’ with Rick Poynor […]



Philip Brophy's Northern Void

By • Feb 19th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, dystopia, film, music, reviews, urban decay

Flyer for Northern Void. Last night I attended the second (and last, for now) screening of Philip Brophy’s 50-minute film Northern Void, billed as a “live cinema performance” accompanied by the real-time sonics of Ph2 (Brophy and Philip Samartzis). Northern Void is set along Plenty Rd, in the northern Melbourne suburb of Preston — specifically […]



Drowned Shepperton

By • Feb 19th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, enviro-disaster, Shepperton, suburbia, urban decay

Check out these flood maps — dynamic maps predicting sea-level rise around the globe (found via Dissensus). First, adjust the rising sea level to +14m. Then focus on London. Now zoom into Shepperton. Result: a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Shepperton-based author of The Drowned World.



The Wind From Nowhere (1961)

By • Oct 10th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, enviro-disaster, urban decay

OPENING LINE: “The dust came first.” From the Penguin edition, 1976: The wind came from nowhere … a super-hurricane that blasted round the globe at hundreds of miles per hour burying whole communities beneath piles of rubble, destroying all organized life and driving those it did not kill to seek safety in tunnels and sewers […]



The Drowned World (1962)

By • Oct 10th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, deep time, enviro-disaster, inner space, urban decay

OPENING LINE: “Soon it would be too hot.” From Amazon UK: In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to […]



The Burning World (aka The Drought; 1964)

By • Oct 8th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, deep time, enviro-disaster, urban decay

OPENING LINE: “At noon, when Dr Charles Ransom moored his houseboat in the entrance to the river, he saw Quilter, the idiot son of the old woman who lived in the ramshackle barge outside the yacht basin, standing on a spur of exposed rock on the opposite bank and smiling at the dead birds floating […]



High-Rise (1975)

By • Sep 17th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, bibliography, urban decay, urban revolt

OPENING LINE: “Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.” From the opening scene of Laing tucking into his canine dinner — the spoils of urban warfare — to the final […]



A User's Guide to the Millennium (1996)

By • Sep 5th, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, fashion, film, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, non-fiction, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, Salvador Dali, science fiction, sexual politics, space relics, speed & violence, surrealism, television, urban decay, visual art, William Burroughs, WWII

OPENING LINE: “In his prime the Hollywood screenwriter was one of the tragic figures of our age, evoking the special anguish that arises from feeling sorry for oneself while making large amounts of money”. (from ‘The Sweet Smell of Excess’). From the 1996 Harper Collins edition: The first-ever collection of J.G. Ballard’s articles and reviews, […]



Millennium People (2003)

By • Sep 5th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, psychology, terrorism, urban decay, urban revolt

OPENING LINE: “A small revolution was taking place, so modest and well behaved that almost no one had noticed.” From the 2003 Flamingo edition: Violent rebellion comes to London’s middle classes in the extraordinary new novel from the author of Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes. When a bomb goes off at Heathrow it looks like another […]



J.G. Ballard: The Complete Short Stories, vols 1 & 2 (2006)

By • Sep 1st, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, New Worlds, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, science fiction, sexual politics, Shepperton, short stories, space relics, speed & violence, suicide, surrealism, television, terrorism, urban decay, urban revolt, visual art, WWII

OPENING LINE: “I first met Jane Ciracylides during the Recess, that world slump of boredom, lethargy and high summer which carried us all so blissfully through ten unforgettable years, and I suppose that may have had a lot to do with what went on between us.” (from ‘Prima Belladonna’). From the 2001 Flamingo edition (originally […]



BLDGBLOG & Davis, Part 2

By • May 25th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, enviro-disaster, terrorism, urban decay

Geoff has posted Part 2 of his Mike Davis interview over at BLDGBLOG, with suitably Ballardian and peripheral topics: “In this instalment, Davis discusses the rise of Pentecostalism in global mega-slums; the threat of avian flu; the disease vectors of urban poverty; criminal and terrorist mini-states; the future of sovereignty; environmental footprints; William Gibson; the […]



Ballard + Davis = BLDGBLOG

By • May 24th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, film, urban decay

Over at BLDGBLOG, Geoff Manaugh has posted a terrific interview with Mike Davis, the man JGB dubbed “the prose laureate of America’s decline”. From BLDGBLOG: ‘I first discovered Mike Davis’s work about a decade ago, through his book City of Quartz, a detailed and poetic look at the social geography of Los Angeles. Perhaps most […]



Trashy Islands

By • Feb 15th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban decay

Reading this article my mind went all Ballardian. Giant patch of ocean debris carries ghost nets, trash onto Island shores By Jan TenBruggencate Advertiser Science Writer A massive oceanic debris gyre has drifted south into Hawaiian waters, driving loads of derelict fishing gear and plastic trash onto Island beaches. For Hawai’i beachcombers, it means better […]



As he ate the dog…

By • Jan 31st, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban decay

LitLine, a ‘website for the Independant Literary Community’, has published its list of the 100 Best First Lines from Novels. Coming in at No. 1 is “Call me Ishmael” (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851). Then, at No. 81 they have “Vaughan died yesterday in his last car crash” (J. G. Ballard, Crash, 1973). A fine […]



The Drowned World

By • Jan 21st, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban decay

Whale spotted in central London A seven-tonne whale has made its way up the Thames to central London, where it is being watched by riverside crowds. The northern bottle-nosed whale, which is 16-18ft long and is usually found in deep sea waters, has passed Parliament and is moving upstream. A rescue boat has been sent […]



Ballardian re-enactments

By • Dec 15th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, medical procedure, urban decay

An excerpt from Peter Carty’s Ballard-referencing review of an interesting-sounding novel… “An Everyman’s life history doomed to repeat itself as farce” Remainder, By Tom McCarthy Published: 12 December 2005 “Re-enactment has been a feature in recent art, most famously in Jeremy Deller’s reprise of the Orgreave battle between striking miners and police. It is a […]



Ballard's Forgotten Source

By • Dec 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban decay

Over at Yahoo’s JG Ballard newsgroup, Ballard scholar Umberto Rossi posted, in his words, “part of a poem called the Ruin, which describes the remains of a Roman city in England… probably Acquae Sulis, which the barbarians call Bath today. It came to my mind that the haunted and haunting description of ruins which were […]



'Child of the Diaspora': Sterling on Ballard

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk, enviro-disaster, flying, interviews, invisible literature, medical procedure, science fiction, sexual politics, Shepperton, urban decay, William Burroughs

Bruce Sterling is a prolific science-fiction writer, futurist, social critic and design professor, best known for his bestselling novels and seminal short fiction, and as the editor of the Mirrorshades anthology that defined the ‘cyberpunk’ subgenre. His nonfiction includes works of futurism such as Tomorrow Now; a regular column and blog for Wired; and his […]



The Drowned City

By • Aug 31st, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban decay, urban revolt

This one has it all — submerged flyovers, apartment dwellers fighting their way to the top floors, oil tankers deposited miles inland like drowned giants, refugee colonies in the 1970s sports arena, urban citizens reduced to Hobbesian looters overnight — too bad it’s nonfiction.



JG Ballard Meets Vincenzo Natali

By • Aug 2nd, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, film, urban decay, urban revolt

From the Capri Films website: TITLE: HIGH-RISE (Feature Film – in Development) SYNOPSIS: From J.G. Ballard, the author of the best sellers, COCAINE NIGHTS and EMPIRE OF THE SUN, comes an unsettling and unforgettable tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control. The tower’s affluent tenants are bent on an orgy […]



Loving the High Rise

By • Aug 1st, 2005 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, urban decay, urban revolt

Ballard-referencing article on the gentrification/renaissance of high rises.