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Archive for the ‘urban revolt’ 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’.



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…



Your mission…

By • May 27th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, crime, Iain Sinclair, terrorism, urban revolt

“Iain, I want you to blow up Bluewater.”



The Car that Ate Bournville

By • Apr 30th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, David Cronenberg, suburbia, urban revolt, urban ruins, visual art

Out in the suburbs, the Birmingham-based Ballard exhibition Zodiac 3000 draws first blood…



'Vomit, violence, tabloid architecture…'

By • Mar 11th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Australia, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, fascism, media landscape, micronations, psychology, sport, television, urban revolt

MelbPsy gets all Atrocity Exhibition on the House that Sam Newman built, the ‘tabloid architecture’ sheathing yet another backyard Aussie micronation.



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.



‘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.



'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 […]



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?’



Atrocity II

By • Jun 28th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, body horror, celebrity culture, death of affect, film, media landscape, short stories, urban revolt

While I think Jonathan Weiss’s film of Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition was successful in its own right, I still believe there’s potential for a version (maybe not a straight adaptation, perhaps an obliquely angled ‘nod and a wink’; maybe even a sequel) that updates the notion of celebrity culture, that takes up the direction hinted […]



Flat block of two dimensions

By • Apr 19th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, gated communities, Michael Moorcock, music, suicide, urban revolt

Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Simon Sellars. All the evidence accumulated over several decades cast a critical light on the high-rise as a viable social structure, but cost-effectiveness in the area of public housing and high profitability in the private sector kept pushing these vertical townships into the sky against the real needs of […]



The Peasants are Revolting? You Can Say that Again! (so says the King of Id)

By • Apr 9th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, politics, the middle classes, urban revolt

At the risk of incurring another bogey in the comments box, Dr John emails to inform me of a piece in the Guardian entitled ‘Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future’. John writes: ‘It might just be because I’ve been getting ready for a conference on J. G. Ballard, but this […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



Ballardian World News: The Parking Revolution

By • Feb 14th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, Ballardosphere, speed & violence, suburbia, urban revolt

“Believe me, the next revolution is going to be about parking.” (J.G. Ballard. Millennium People.) It’s becoming harder to keep up with the swelling tsunami of Ballardian world events. First we had to come to terms with the hidden meaning behind the Lisa Nowak story and Australia’s recent flag-waving menace. Then we had to wait […]



The Drought: Water Vigilantes

By • Feb 7th, 2007 •

Category: Australia, Ballardosphere, enviro-disaster, urban revolt

Beware the water cops (photo: Sandy Scheltema; courtesy Age newspaper) Here in Victoria we’re undergoing a severe drought; heavy water restrictions are in force and things are projected to get much worse. A sign of the times is the appearance of “water vigilantes”, as reported in the Age newspaper: MARGARET Norriss is living in fear. […]



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 […]



Running Wild (1988)

By • Sep 16th, 2006 •

Category: bibliography, CCTV, gated communities, surveillance, urban revolt

OPENING LINE: “25 August, 1988. Where to start?” This novella is just 87 pages long. Ballard calls it a ‘whydunit’ (rather than a ‘whodunit’), and it’s as uncanny as that implies. The shadow of Columbine hangs over this work (or, rather, vice versa). The murders happened shortly after 8 o’clock on the morning of 25 […]



Fascist Guide

By • Sep 7th, 2006 •

Category: Australia, Ballardosphere, consumerism, sport, urban revolt

In Diary: A Fascist’s Guide to the Premiership, published in New Statesman, JG Ballard previews the themes he unpacks in Kingdom Come. In this piece, JGB asks if the “English working class [is] re-tribalising itself” as a result of “football crowds rocking stadiums and bellowing anthems … taking part in political rallies without realising it, […]



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 […]



Kingdom Come (2006)

By • Sep 1st, 2006 •

Category: advertising, bibliography, consumerism, deep time, dystopia, sport, terrorism, urban revolt

OPENING LINE: “The suburbs dream of violence.” From the 2006 Fourth Estate edition: Richard Pearson, unemployed advertising executive and life-long rebel, is driving out to Brooklands, a motorway town on the A25. A few weeks earlier his father was fatally wounded at the Metro-Centre, a vast shopping mall in the middle of this apparently peaceful […]



Memories of the Space Age

By • Dec 23rd, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, urban revolt

It started Monday when their first plane blew a tire on takeoff, dumped fuel over the ocean and circled back to Los Angeles International Airport to land in a spray of sparks, shedding 200 pounds of rubber and metal on the runway. 45-Hour Delay: Nonstop Plight Passengers on an Air India flight endure hours on […]



Banlieues Ballardiens

By • Nov 28th, 2005 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, urban revolt

An essay in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine suggests that the recent troubles in Paris were High-Rise meets Super-Cannes — anger and aggression inculcated by architecture. But you already knew that. Revolting High Rises (registration required) ‘The Swiss architect Le Corbusier, as Francophobes have been more than ready to explain, bears some of the blame […]



Edmonton IKEA

By • Oct 1st, 2005 •

Category: boredom, consumerism, death of affect, photography, urban revolt

A series of Photos from the scene of February 2005′s riots.



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.