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Dubai Ballard World

Author: • Dec 12th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, Dubai, entropy, enviro-disaster, theme parks

Ballardian

Over at the Transatlantis blog, there is an announcement of a new theme park patterned after Ballard’s work:

A new theme park is coming soon to Dubai. Named The Ultimate City, its theme will be the the world refracted through the many faceted crystal-like mind of writer J.G. Ballard. It will be distributed throughout the city to make it’s experience as much part of the urban fabric as possible. Some of the attractions will include:

• The Drowned World water park where guests can experience the rising sea levels of global warming as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.
• As oil rapidly becomes a scarce commodity, Crashland will become the only place to partake in the visceral and intoxicating power of the internal-combustion engine.
• Get closer to the nuclear power of the sun over the ozone free Terminal Beach, or descend into the cool shade of vintage Bikini Atoll concrete nuclear blast bunkers scattered among it’s sandy dunes.
• In a special arrangement with the Burj Dubai, a large section of the world’s tallest skyscraper has been reserved for High Rise: a paint-ball arena where guests struggle for advantage as they try to reach the top of the building.
• Other attractions will include: The Burning World, Concrete Island, and more.

Ballardian

Of course, this is not the first Ballard Park. As Ballardian readers will be aware, the original in Egypt closed due to entropy:

Egyptian Ballard World, developed by loyal Ballard fans for loyal Ballard fans, had everything the discerning JGB fan could possibly require: abandoned water bodies; derelict technology; dead monorails hanging against the sky like guillotines; construction works half finished, as if some terrible disaster had wiped out all traces of human life; masses of rubble and twisted metal forming complex cryptograms, their meaning inscrutable and remote, as if they were designed not for man, but for man’s absence…

More recently, however, British and Chinese versions are being planned to fill the void:

Ballard World will be the perfect day trip for stressed out Londoners. Advertised as “Families exploring inner space”, there’s enough going on for every age group; The little ones play hide and seek in an abandoned Shanghai mansion and roam around the inevitable empty swimming pool. Dad fingers the dented side panel of Jayne Mansfield’s crashed 1966 Buick Electra, while mom has a pina colada in a cocktail party that’s permanenently on the brink of getting out of hand.

Another Ballard resort on the outskirts of Shanghai, expected to open its doors in 2009, will consist of a minute replica of the London suburb Shepperton, with the Heathrow Hilton atrium as an entrance building. Other cities as diverse as Detroit and Rome have shown interest in opening a Ballard Park…

With all of these Ballard Worlds in development, the future is looking not so bleak after all: dystopia as aesthetic pleasure of the highest order, indeed.

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10 Responses »

  1. The Ballardian theme park is already Dubai; all the other bits of it.

  2. Absolutely. I’ve been there, and as soon as I can locate my photos of the place, I hope to do a little Ballardian photo-essay about Dubai.

  3. You may be late, or early; my good friend Secret Dubai reckons the property crash has landed.

  4. I’ve just got home to Bahrain after a holiday in Dubai and I bored my family with the similariries between numerous off-the-cuff Ballardianisms, and this indulgent, yet vicious place. Its core is pandering to something just slightly off-kilter; its infrastructure supported by slave labour. That said, it’s amazing fun for small kids to see snow in the Middle East, and you barely have to raise an arse cheek before a liveried minion places a branded cushion under it. As always, what is good is for us, is not always what we need.
    Without young children I would avoid Dubai like the black death; with them it is pure, expensive ultracapitalist indulgence.
    Anthony

  5. Good description, Anthony — or at least that’s certainly the impression the Dubai taxi drivers were giving me. And Alex, if the crash has landed, well all those ghostly, abandoned gated communities will *still* be Ballardian… some of these were half-finished when I was there and probably never will be, now.

  6. [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  7. [...] Ballardian ” Dubai Ballard World 16 12 2008 Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  8. [...] In Dubai: [...]

  9. This, is an absolutely fantastic Ballardian blog post. Just after reading about Dubai, and finding it reminscent of Ballards world, I suspected if I typed ‘Dubai Ballard’ into Google I would not be the first to have thought of this. And lo and behold, here we all are.

    And Antony, liveried minions? Sounds great.

  10. [...] give em’ a band-aid”, Willard; just don’t expect everyone to swallow this ‘dystopia as aesthetic pleasure of the highest order’ non-sense, whole, and fully [...]

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