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Flooded London

Author: • Jun 29th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, deep time, enviro-disaster, urban decay, urban ruins, visual art

Ballardian: Flooded London

ABOVE: Flooded London, by Squint/Opera.

You don’t need me to tell you what these images evoke…

‘Do you know where we are?’ he asked after a pause. ‘The name of this city?’ When Kerans shook his head he said: ‘Part of it used to be called London; not that it matters…’

The bulk of the city had long since vanished, and only the steel-supported buildings of the central commercial and financial areas had survived the encroaching flood waters. The brick houses and single-storey factories of the suburbs had disappeared completely below the drifting tides of silt. Where these broke surface giant forests reared up into the burning dull-green sky, smothering the former wheatfields of temperate Europe and North America. Impenetrable Mato Grossos sometimes three hundred feet high, they were a nightmare world of competing organic forms returning rapidly to their Paleozoic past, and the only avenues of transit for the United Nations military units were through the lagoon systems that had superimposed themselves on the former cities. But even these were now being clogged with silt and then submerged.

J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World, 1962.

Via De Zeen:

Film and media studio Squint/Opera has created a series of images depicting imaginary scenes in London in 2090, when rising sea levels have inundated the city. The Flooded London series depicts the city as a “tranquil utopia”. Five images will be on show at Medcalf Gallery in Clerkenwell, London from 20 June for a month, during the London Festival of Architecture. Exhibition details are on the festival website.

Ballardian: Flooded London

His name still echoed faintly in his ears as they began their search of the building. He took up his position at the stairwell at the centre of each corridor while Riggs and Macready inspected the apartments, keeping a look-out as they climbed the floors. The building had been gutted. All the floorboards had rotted or been ripped out, and they moved slowly along the tiled inlays, stepping warily from one concrete tie-beam to another.

Most of the plaster had slipped from the walls and lay in grey heaps along the skirting boards. Wherever sunlight filtered through, the bare laths were intertwined with creeper and wire-moss, and the original fabric of the building seemed solely supported by the profusion of vegetation ramifying through every room and corridor.

J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World, 1962.

Ballardian: Flooded London

Only a few feet from the surface, they drew closer, emerging from the depths like an immense intact Atlantis. First a dozen, then a score of buildings appeared to view, their cornices and fire-escapes clearly visible through the thinning refracting glass of the water. Most of them were only four or five storeys high, part of a district of small shops and offices enclosed by the taller buildings that had formed the perimeter of the lagoon.

Fifty yards away the first of the roofs broke surface, a blunted rectangle smothered with weeds and algae, across which slithered a few desperate fish. Immediately half a dozen others appeared around it, already roughly delineating a narrow street.

J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World, 1962.

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