J G Ballard Themed Conceptual R&D

RND/ To consider possible examples of J.G Ballard themed conceptual digital art and critique:

Ballardian Carparks

There are an enormous number of multi story car parks in Watford. They played a special role in The Atrocity Exhibition. They were iconic structures. I was interested in gauges of psycho-architectonics. Multi story car parks and their canted floors as a depository for cars seemed to let one into a new dimension.
– JG Ballard/ on BBC Two short film Crash/ 1971 directed by Harvey Cokebliss/ from crash – BFI modern classics by Iain Sinclair


– In which stock carpark images exist for stock synthetic experiences of urban modernity while the ghost of Ballard looks on.

Ballardian media encounters with Simon

To consider a brief social media micro meltdown via Professional Academic(TM) Mr. Simon Sellars.


– In which academic book publisher and Western culturally appointed Ballard expert (whatever that is) Simon Sellars apparently once had some hot rap style micro-beef with anonymous Research lab site robertwhat.com; a very minor tale timeline of mild institutional / academic paranoid twitching on dead social media.

  • In which you now longer follow “Ballardian” on social media.
  • To consider Simon Sellars; sure seems a smart guy, his site ‘Ballardian’ a favorite haunt for many years.
  • Anyway, Mr Sellars once tweeted something vaguely sarcastic about Phil Collins and his autobiography.
  • For some reason (probably that he’s an idiot) Freelance Amateur Postmodern Internet Theorist ‘Robert What’ replied to Simon, stating “In The Air Tonight” was by now a long standing Western / Jungian hyper dream institution.
  • Mr Sellars then immediately replied quote ‘Henry Swanson rides again’.
  • Robert What vainly assumed Simon fondly remembered Robert writing under his alternative Internets performance identity “Henry Swanson” for an (unpaid) interview he once helped Simon with, concerning awesome night photographer Troy Paiva.
  • Robert replied to Simon yeah baby,pleased Mr. Sellars remembered their previous pleasant social interaction.
  • Bizarrely, Mr Sellars than asked Robert something like ‘which particular Henry Swanson they were – ‘the Henry Swanson who was making a name off ir back – or the prick taking the piss out of his Applied Ballardianism’ – (title of one of Simon’s many nice Ballard themed tomes on sale by the door in Waterstones, no doubt)
  • Uh, you what mate? Somewhat surprised at this unchecked undercurrent of academic vitriol, Robert What replied he was neither – calmly citing an old url of his cool interview with Mr. Paiva.
  • It was about now that Mr. Simon Sellars must of instantly deleted his previous ‘prick’ tweet (oh for quicker print_screen fingers!)
  • Interesting; in which one has the sudden swollen minerals to spit out something aggressive in first place – but then (like some pseudo tough barking dog poked with a stick) their balls retreat when it comes to standing by those very words.
  • Mr Sellar’s lean academic muscles now positively rippling in defense of their product – Ballard(TM) perhaps – was having none of it, and then stating that they ‘knew exactly kinds of horrible things’ you were writing about him on your (awesome) small, utterly random RND nonsite.
  • In which one imagines it was about now that Mr. Sellars started to sweat raw Strisand Effect, realizing the increasing heady depths of digital media hole he was rapidly digging.
  • After this, several pretend polite back forth tweets rapidly ensue – in which Mr. Sellars rapidly tries to downplay what he just tweeted n’ deleted; just because you can no longer read it dear Simon, doesn’t mean it’s not still out here (it’s called Internet Widebanding.)
  • Robert What then suggests the very lab site post in question, not as an Ad Hominem attack on Simon or ‘his’ work – but rather as directly indirectly-critical of Academia generally.
  • Referring to what was written at Robert What Dot Com, Simon then asked who cares what some minor accountant / tasteless drone like him even says or thinks anyway?
  • Robert politely countered, stating that some accusations are often just mere sour academic grapes but far more impersonal / important matters of exacting critique.

Yet (arguably) if some quote “Digital strategist working across web mobile social currently employed at university as a senior digital analyst advising training staff on digital strategy social media management mobile development mobile content web content(TM) working closely with marketing communications learning teaching Content UX teams to provide holistic approach to digital strategy” – unquote – doesn’t somehow at least remotely represent an inherently Conservative strictly limited (ie. Academic) approach to ideas of one of the best writers thinkers around, then who the hell does?

Quelle surprise; finally, after several more mildly embarrassingly awkward tweets, Mr. Professional Sellars then directly proceeds to ‘follow’ Robert What on social media, pretending like he’s his new found Ballardian Buddy (of course at this point Robert What then casually blocks him without regret.)

In which Robert What now half try to get a few things straighter about the factoids (at least as allegedly presented):

  • Nobody currently reads knows or cares of or about arbitrary existence of Robert What Dot Com.
  • Professional Academic Mr. Simon Sellars probably does know a great deal about J.G Fucking Ballard.
  • What does feels uncertain however is whether Mr. Simon ‘Book’ Sellars currently owns a world wide monopoly on ideas and theories regarding The Ballardian. (He sure however seems a common, Culturally sanctioned go-to when anyone needs a handy Academic style intellectual quote about Ballard.)
  • At least someone must have purchased one of Mr. Simon’s expensive books of collected Ballard interviews – which unfortunately turn out exceedingly dry (aka Academic.)
  • If anyone with ideas of their own regarding Ballard, his life, his amazing writing or utterly fantastic mind expanding Idea Spaces – far outside necessarily insular universe of Wine N Dine publishing. self congratulatory academic back slapping or violently bland, toothless holly-wooden adaptations of his incredible artistic visions – then they should feel entirely free to develop and pursue those ideas, without any auto defensive Snark from those who make lucrative careers off names of said famous dead authors – therefore possibly inherently viewing such artists in vastly limited (intellectual) manners – as precisely befit their (self perceived) sociocultual position.
  • Indeed, the creepy, leech-like reverse appears true; Mr. Sellars in a tweet to hardcore Freelance Amateur Postmodern Internet Theorist Robert What readily admitted to quote ‘riffing off’ fresh new ideas about Ballard from him.

Trigger Warning: in which rich white academics read what you write – ‘riff you off’ in other words – but certainly don’t pay for it, or give you (/cultural) credit.

Summary analysis of said brief media exchange; whatever J.G Ballard is, or represents, does not seem something merely to write about – to go to slick conferences to – chat idly about or become internet infamous for – nor is any kind of real reason to hang out with bland Holly-Wooden actors – but rather, consider Ballard as a distinct post scientific method of radical conceptual experimentalism to key psychological and philosophical aspects of modern un-dead life under / via global hyper capitalism.

Kinda like some cheap, unwise, rapidly deleted social media message – consider Ballard as always out here – thankfully far out of anyone’s polite individual control.

Note: after reading about this brief hot social media exchange, photographer Troy Paiva said his ears were burning – that we should both contact him – perhaps for a soothing emotional debriefing.

Update Patch

In which Professional Academic Simon Sellars now permanently blocks you on social media – how non ironically professional and middle class passive-aggressive, ie. as though a polite living cliche, straight out of some obsolete 70’s Ballardian novel.

High Rise Film Poster

Tossing over the cinematic balcony/ high rise 2015 critique

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A trash wallow in sex, nudity, violence, cruelty to animals and the skewering of contemporary society, it will predictably appeal to kids and art house patrons who crave the cinematic roller coaster rides of outrage and chaos that lead to downright anarchy.
– Rex Reed, laughable Observer review of high rise /FTG

Notes about this dreadful flick as they occurred;

– In which Ben Wheatley’s flick “High Rise” (2015) seems an utter cinematic failure of true Ballardian scale.

One has to stand back from it in hot feigned awe of terrifying new vistas of coke-brain addled cinematic disaster tourism which must of informed such a tragic mis-production, right from drawing board to final cut, right to (conceptually at least) VHS-style, direct-to-plastic covered shelving units next to a 70’s Woolworths checkout.

Wheatley seems to live under impression he’s the next Kubrick, but it’s just his friends blowing smoke up his arts.

– For Ballard to discuss built architecture is to highlight critique Western technological society’s mass psychic architecture.

Indeed, consider concrete as an idea make literal / concrete – a solidity of ideas made livable (ie. physically socio-psychically unbearable.)

For Wheatley however, apparently all they need are some upward shots of a faintly menacing construction against an overcast sky In many ways, his High Rise completely bypasses Ballard style approaches to errant roving psychological architecture, and seems fully content with an almost deliberately vague overview from the top floor – of Wheatly’s own (lost) directorial Ego, perhaps.

– The tone of the movie is so uneven, it’s almost as if it’s precisely what Wheatly was going for – not that it seems he’d thought that far ahead; better to have rich, paleskins just guffaw snobbishly a lot on screen and have done with it.

– Maybe not since Hudson Hawk (1991) has there been such an incoherent nonsensical mishmash of useless movement noise – a half assed closing jumble sale of discarded objects masquerading as somehow articulate, or meaningfully comprehensible – it makes you want to snort whatever it was the joker had who got gave the green light for this celluloid turkey.

– If you hadn’t read the novel or seen the trailer, you’d never of realized this patchouli scented calcified brain lump had anything remotely to do with the world of ideas and philosophical explorations of mighty writer J.G. Fucking Ballard. (Did anyone other than Tom even read the novel? Were they even partially knowledgeable about what Ballard’s remotely about – his expansive conceptual possibility space?)

– It’s as though Mr. Ben must have been so thoroughly enamored of his own midnight Art secretions, they got repeatedly tossed over the bland Brutalist balcony of his own dead concrete imaginings in a stupefyingly dull orgy of failed creative excess – whereupon they land upon the heads of disinterested viewers like bird crap from the 90th floor, only to have them dismissively wiped off with abject apathy.

– After the opening credits, you wait wait for the movie to start proper – to say any one thing concrete – but it never happens; nothing ever begins, just one cheerless fated smear of imagery after the next, like some poorly considered advert for classic psychedelic animation Mr. Ben.

– Switch off the sound and simply project whole flick on the far white wall of your underground research lab instead; it works best as an over extended trailer for a movie that will never be made (nor should.)

– If there was an award for ‘most annoying uninterrupted use of inappropriate background music’, High Rise would win an Oscar; turn that bloody racket down so we can hear what’s happening (if anything.)

– While watching, one feels utterly indifferent to every half non-thing that’s happening on screen; if that was the point, then this accidental self parody of a movie a seems runaway success.

– To consider High Rise as so dire, so free of menace it acts like some Conservative comment precisely designed to make the political dimensions of Ballard’s work toothless and safe – an ironically class warfare free, family friendly urban apocalypse designed by Jerry and Margo Leadbetter of cult 70s BBC TV series “The Good Life” – indeed, there were infinitely better scenes of architecture enabled alienation on view in “The Fall and Rise Reginald Perrin.”

– The building itself stands tall and desperate lonely, a cheap knockoff of cheap state sponsored architectural erections seen in Hollowood flick Dredd (2012) – in fact Dredd with the sound off features infinitely more and better ‘Ballardesque’ shots and angles.

– Only one shot stands out of the whole visual shambles – that moment character Laing faces the camera, his face covered in blue paint like some future Mayan temple warrior with eyes ablaze – finally suggesting the birth or local dimensional manifestation of true ‘Control Subject Zero in Designer Urban Psychopathology’.

– One could remove Tom Hiddleston’s middling two dimensional character cutout and few would notice – indeed that smart kid in the movie with the kaleidoscope was the most interesting and underdeveloped character on set, apart from Jeremy Irons doing his best to look like he remotely belonged there (with the minimum of drab material he was provided to work with.)

– Almost everyone on set is a caricature; the character of Laing was supposed to symbolize the ‘psychologically exploratory neural space’ of Ballard himself – the passive equivalent of researcher Vaughan; unfortunately nothing remotely interesting or daring was attempted (and even less successfully managed.)

– To generally consider High Rise a laughable 70’s laundry pile of sweaty old architect balls – which ends with the appropriately and amazingly inappropriate song “Industrial Estate” by The Fall as a dirty cherry on the whole cheerless shit cake.

To throw this together together in such a manner – a large group of back slapping luvvies with too much fucking money and not quite enough talent on their clammy hands – smelling their own exotic horse steak farts in a hermetic art-sealed, glass lined express lift to nowhere video-development hell.

– To casually chuck such flicks over the balcony, so ‘lite’ one won’t even get the satisfaction of its weightless turgid body delicately smashing against rusting birdshit covered jags far below; an instantly forgettable jumble of a flick – a thoroughly civilized imagining of Ballard’s ultra-violent inner sci-fi legacy.

Update Patch

To consider recent social class war revelations about the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – the worlds tallest unmarked grave – notice how Ballard got it precisely right again; people with riches do indeed live above the poor – just hovering like gated Hungry Ghosts directly above the physical rotting concrete stacks they’re directly responsible for, utterly indifferent to the plight of other human beings below them.

Hyperballard Research Icon “Vaughan”

To let J.G Ballard die – a call for far more experimental (aka ‘Hyperballardian’) Research And Development

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Raw hallucinogenic beetle extract from never forthcoming research pamphlet simulation cloud – via ludonautic Resarcher Robert What – in a generally Ballardian style.

‘Psy-Fi’ visionary J.G Ballard is thoroughly dead – yet officially sanctioned consumer culture refuses to let him stay that way, contentedly picking over his moldy corpse with every flat, smooth word they utter about or around him.

First off; after crawling out of the woodwork to claim Ballard’s greatness – and therefore their own by proxy – unrepentant racist Martin ‘I was always a fan’ Amis can go jump into the nearest drained ivory swimming pool.

Consider this a call for no more polite / mystified Ballardian discussions; let modern ‘Resarcs’ immediately and unceremoniously burn his historical corpse in abandoned desert hotels filled with equally musty academic papers.

To consider some effortlessly violent, ‘recreationally psychopatho-illogical’ need to constantly reinvent / re-view Ballard as eminently dis respectable, grotesque, dangerously unpredictable, tastelessly alien, angular and oblique – in other worlds ‘atrocious’; a need to move a little way past or beyond The Ballardian – to become ‘Hyperballardian’ – in order to discuss or approach The Ballardian at all.

Ballard needs to die properly – needs more critical uncertain critique and less arse kissing by the ancient uncritical fawning ones – so that The Ballardian may breathe on and evolve / mutate – remain free of the shackles of desiccated Academia who constrain The Ballardian via perhaps an inherently Conservative analysis by dead nice words carefully selected and pruned, to remain safe and innocuous to one’s golfing and publishing buddies at annual, awful Ballard-Lite style / themed conferences, full of back slapping ‘white artists white wine empty walls’ aka the ‘Pale, Male and Stale’ – crusty sycophants and torpid hangers on in pressed suits pimping out Ballard’s otherwise living memory flux in strict service of their tepid dissections / effortlessly traditional, self effacing middle class three book deal industry horse droppings.

Like gangs of minor roving accountants, such tasteless drones with their endlessly pragmatic applicability and the pseudo holistic approaches to digital strategy they see seek in Ballard, do not in fact have a monopoly on defining The Ballardian – they do not in fact have him or the strange conceptual Research & Development spaces he helped catalyse all neatly wrapped up.

Of course, Ballard himself was in any strange case an embodied polymorphic multiplicity of fuzzy, often contradictory influences, attitudes, final metaphysical approaches to the zeitgeist runway – arching, elaborately signalled bio-electric cyphers launched without ever quite landing – often merely continually crashing, perverse, slow motion neuro-cultural autopsies.

Contrary to popular elitist (academic) belief, not everything in life or existence may be indiscriminately sprayed with the instant moniker “Ballardian” and automatically stick.

Rather one must dis-continually re-deconstruct “The Ballardian” – view or treat The Ballardian as a necessarily fragmentary attitude,  a dangerously unsustainable yet necessary altitude – say that of raw hardcore Postmodern Research And Development.

– To act as thoroughly experimental with ‘The Ballardian’ as Ballard was when he first appeared on the virtual Scene.

To this non end, to this indirect process, Resarcs of / in simulated research of ‘Big Science’ call on the mighty idealization simulation / nightmare and mega highway TV Data Angel “Vaughan” – Triassic patron anti saint of Research, atrocity exhibit triple zero direct from the deep chrome void – to theatrically re-deconstruct Ballard / The Ballardian via nonlinear series of transgressive biotech skirmishes in unexpected images simulations and unformed potentialities – unexpected even to themselves.

To consider this, not as another desiccated manifesto but theatrical “And Yes” call and response – call for Ballard as potential living alternative – to – reality, for alternative conceptual spaces – undecidedly an Non Practical Ballardianism which may draw on the internal strength and failures of those who research it – who simply burst in on /as “Scene.”

Vaughan / Vaughan – where you gawn?!

Had a car crash / head got shorn

Grab your gear / get of my lawn

Research something / each bright new morn

– Vaughan’s Psychic Lament, popular

Example Reference Links

// how to play big science