The Inapplicable Ballardianism Of Simon Sellars

RND/ To consider a poetic critique / remix of sections from obsolete, eye-rollingly turgid auto-fictive pseudo-biography “Applied Ballardianism: Memoir from a Parallel Universe” by Simon Sellars.

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Simon Sellars Applied Balalrdianism: Book Cover Remix

The characters are finding.. that the so-called Real World isn’t convincing anymore.
– J.G Ballard interview, BBC Profile 2003

// entertaining and informative only in parts

i. some intriguing research idea
for precisely how not to analyse or approach ballardianism
this project never concludes and instead
becomes part of highly doubtful content
dead body of irrelevant facts not previously in public domains
painfully sketchy shoehorning of ballardian narrative similitude at every opportunity
to find oneself claming b.s at end of many paragraphs
failed attempt to relay period of life by identifying massively
with various characters in his stories – with ballard himself
cosplaying with characters not normally taken up by cosplayers
yet many of events feel reinvented to align with ballardian scenarios
occurring at times in life nothing remotely ballardian was happening
standing around with faces like drained swimming pools

ironically this aligns with ballard’s own writing
mythologizing life into weird wild array of semi-fictitious autobiography
the representation of large sections of mundane conference papers
framed in unfortunate narratives that present these as minor works
of idiosyncratic academically challenged imposters
somehow undertaking intense ballardian activity
yet as phd student nothing could be more normal than for authors
to present such papers at various conferences
but aggressive responses to projected self-doubt feels quite sad
peppering of various cultural theorists – virilio baudrillard et al
feels at odds with private critiques of boring intellectuals

ii. yet why name drop such academic references if they’re unimportant
large sections consist of basic synopses of ballard’s novels and stories
which offer little interpretative insight
space alien sightings and underlying macho violence are worst aspects
along with vivid description of second life as though it’s real
supposedly violence and blurring of reality is meant to tie in with ballard’s writing
but it feels like punch-ups muggings running from bike gangs hitting people
are really just embarrassing non events
that would only happen to aggressive idiots /
consider such books ones nobody asked for
and yet they got even slightly less

// fleeing excesses

in which young cyberculture researchers set out
to systematically analyse
obsessively reiterated themes of obscure internet theorists
disorienting near futures now prophesized
fragmentary narratives/ disturbingly psychotropic as dark magus miles davis
where car crash prophets speed mutate
into surgeons of pathological virtualities

slick surfaces of contemporary reality throb and pulse
existential odysseys/ inextricably weaved lived virtual experience
as theoretical insights warp into startling autobiographical hyper fiction surveys
dissected worlds hooked up live into global technological delirium
hot bright worlds now unmistakably postmodern

// psychic wombat

to trace decline – bittersweet benefits of survival
exact moments located in theater of unwellness
high school dropouts pinball between dead end jobs
once bright students/ squandered ambition
fuses melting under excessive voltage
turn inwards but nothing holds stare of deep voids
sight of self lost within interminable fever dream

to awake inside anomalous worlds with something oddly familiar
cloned versions threatening erasure
no choice but to spark internal war mission – take out clones
in which to fight means exposure to interdimensional time
unable to distinguish between failed futures
wrong questions asked – unskilled in psychic combat
wrong doors open/ dark matter burns within

// artificial weapons

i. zenith of cyberculture as incandescent moment
embryonic internets go nova
wild untamed frontier zone occupied by hackers
digital somali pirates/ hot data surgeons for hire
cadres of romanticised undesirables shining forth
from glossy cyberphile magazines

stories emerge in terminally unhip lands
as tv personalities make fools of themselves
asking about data tubes live on air
struggling to pronounce at symbols
such fearless cybertroopers storm gilded gates of tomorrow
clueless rubes snowblind from self generated nonlinear pixel blizzards
nets hyped as radical human evolution

thundering cyberprophet consciousness uploads to mainframes
booster rocket bodies ditch as dead meat weight
cyber modification fads display contempt for physical limitations
swept up in augment fervor noses spontaneously pierce in three places
tongues split in two/ yet instead of ascension to enlightened state
each receives sinus infection / speech impediment lasting for weeks
californian cyber hippy culture gaggles peddle digital utopia snake oil
nets as new home of mind – dull rhetoric forged
from pink male privilege/ sure feels cold

ii. danger excitement diversity discontent bond
to pseudo nihilistic cyberpunk science fiction
communes transplant from virtual desert online
stark correctives to cyber utopianism needed
in cyberpunk virtual reality displaces new normal
alien loners log on via neural interface
minds conjoined – bodies lifeless slack
nervous systems soon collapse / minds warp – living death occurs

one slick worldview those with high social capital buy into easily
to consider cyberpunk as accurate summation of era
startling research exposes sickness of culture
in wake of cyber prophet based global news simulation
provocative reports release on information overload

where even staunchest adherents feel unnerved
sum total of available information doubling
in ever shorter amounts of time
data tsunami swamps uncontrollable mind stream
new overlapping technology flux
faxes mobile phones modems internet conferencing
exponential human cost of assimilating / processing material
information fatigue syndrome – atrophied attention spans

minds shut down – bodies deplete
symptoms include hyper aroused psychological condition
paralysis of analytical capacity – faux anxiety – lack of self doubt
increased capacity for bad decisions based on flawed conclusions
appointments made with doctor to complain about malaise
yet practitioners regard such patients with barely concealed contempt
ir condition shrouded in pseudo intellectual babble
recent media reports quoted in pathetic attempt
to make situation appear more or less significant
than torpor of degenerate data slackers sitting opposite

iii. such info fatigue syndrome somehow heroically avoidable consequence
of willingly service in ongoing digital war
sustained immersion within new cyber dawn
wraparound virtual reality technology
where so called cyber warriors speak of minds going
doctors rise wearily from hard wooden seats
slouch over to medicine cabinet – sets of golden blades on desk
alien scalpels laid out – such medical scenes nervous / paranoid

rising panic induced/ mystifying geometry alarms
designer weapons of advanced analytical dissection
conceptual cardboard boxes opened
high quality electronic consumer merchandise ideology sealed within
to return from such sessions with unmarked boxes of pills
instructions included/ details fail however to register distraction
attractive middle aged nurses stand nearby
to observe such medical interaction – feel stirring deep in loins
completely present in some recondite way
moods mauve in colour/ engraved with crude outlines of sick doves

// still dead world

i. in which pills generate monstrous side effects
after ingestion fail to remember thoughts had moments before
sometimes lose contact with seemingly critical childhood memories
or even names / ages/ swathes of brain wiped
such mindspace freefall accompanied
by chaotic spatial disorientation

walls fall away to inky voids
floors vanish into bottomless chasms
in precious moments between such apocalyptic hallucinations
manage to hold down part time job in warehouse on outskirts of town
wholesale distributor supplying underground urban architecture magazines
to nationwide newsagent chains
heat seal ballpoint pens into plastic blister packs
rear of building storeroom for remaindered stock

something weird to read scavenged during tea break
cache of soft architecture porn periodicals draws eyes to seductive covers
face flushed by lurid red filter sporting plastic horns
cameras wink back as multiple tongues extend from saucy grins
other attractions advertised by progressively smaller fonts
interview with some legendary gonzo sci fi public toilet writer
tantalizing heading screams ufo

vivid mishmash of faded hero with current fads
waiting viperous among back pages
content scan for essential field guide to coiled interview with future cult author
science fiction on elliptical orbit
far distant from planets asimov heinlein clarke
devour sci fi but never let it read in return – already too far underground
known only through blurbs tucked away in endpapers of less esoteric novels
simple souls keen on doc smiths lensmen series – sappiest of boys own space operas

yet what to make of works described by shell shocked
chill splinters of unreality – source of bleak new live / evil
clearly for crowds such coders not major draw
peripheral figure from youthful forays into science fiction
information tech mixes with bleeding edge cast of wannabes
heavy metal christian sloane rebels – nocturnal vampettes
yet now more punk than any – interview incendiary showcase for deadly ability
to pinpoint moment when technology strafes uncanny valley

ii. predicted forms social media assumes
as it reinvents itself twenty minutes into future
psychological fallout from heavy use included
deregulation of airwaves leads to deregulation of imagination
people now screen themselves – bad midnight cable access tv holo programs
television reframed as cyborg extension of cultural coders mind space
tv tube flagging piece of nervous tissue
ever bigger charges needed to get necessary eye kicks
themes of suburban breakdown define rnd
big strain to maintain fabric of absolute normality
requiring powerful repressive dark unseen biopsychic forces
perverse suburbs animate/ fascinate via existential stasis
dystopic interior world space where everyone acts violently sane

deviance factored directly out of architecture
bleached landscapes siphoned off from ever odder behavior
terms / conditions of suburbia – empty time/ no past or future
only enervation – eternal presents
where little changes but constant change
soul desert memories of fictional overlays
consumer futures always just out of reach
futures as deathly boring – psychic suburbanisation of planetary soul
radical counterpoint mutant strain identified – possible resistance node
tedium of suburbs forcing imagination into new arenas

deviant acts each morning
merely to make certain of freedom
nothing so dramatic as say torching local blumquist video store
or beating up men of business
although do just that in later works
kicking your boss does for now
accompanying interview monochrome photo portrait
enhances casual brutality of synthetic truths
large gritty photo/ grain scuffs surround pages
black shirt worn while gazing off camera
left eye framed with thumb forefinger
cheek pulled down to reveal wide opaque pupil
struck by visual cryptograms/ crack code

iii. what exactly x signals as never known
until years later when reading local newspaper
answers surfacing from random connections
announcing presence with alien electricity
unpredictable spark jags from tesla coil
exact same signal/ arcane intimation
fictional experiments aiming for identical results
to awaken by any means possible

complacent suburbanites stiff from dreamlike existence
insight not revealed until near future
when events take full course
in thrall to dark strange unseen forces just beyond reason
magazine interviews re read for now
open eye stares inadvertently setting wheels in motion
signal of overpowering broadcast feed
brain colonized airwave pirate
prime time television splices into pornographic immateriality

// end of shift

commence long walk home from warehouse – weather hot / dusty
deadly rays from high sun reflect off
vicious concrete expanses passing for public space
intense glares blot out all life in atomic flash colors
half expected shadows sear bleak pavement
unpeopled industrial areas power substations hiss
cavernous breaker yards
back street negotiation – infestation of dun colored brick factories
each small/ foreboding – iron bar windows
private dens rented out to high bidders

slaughtered chicken on road spattered with bloody innards
arranged inscrutable symbols
three discarded battered carriages on nature strip nearby
modern day mysteries ponder
lace suspended sneakers over suburban power lines
front door open/ fuses blown – power off
hallway pitch black darkness hemmed in
coordinates of contemporary madness
still suffering spatial hallucination from pills

eye probes/ minds beckon mirror world
thresholds crossed with senses reeling
breadcrumbs followed – risk it all/ kicked dogs
notorious novels read for days
consuming dangerous literature as liberating act
works so depraved/ author myth beyond psychiatric help

// technolust

i. in which crashes change lives torching everything before
reversed negativity – channeling i.t into something radical
sensuous narrator of seditious work
rough copy of flawed clone infiltrates group
of urban professionals bored with jobs
marriages bored with themselves
allegiance pledged to hoodlum scientist nurturing dark desires
promises to recalibrate android lives in nightmare marriage of sex / technology
master plan to induce global autogeddon – primitive uniting singularity
machines in terminal congress of loins / engine coolant

tune in to police radio as damaged crew vultures descend upon car accidents
stage own atmosphere of trauma perfume inhilation
scars of numerous accidents born – crash wounds entered
pleasuring yourself watching crash test dummies pulverize to oblivion
as they admit crash induced pain into flesh – hybrid lifeform burst cocoons
strange bodies indelibly altered – resultant scars conduits to newness
more intense sexuality crash logic accelerated
intimate reshaping of human form – no return insight revealed when lsd taken

drive across motorway systems defining ey world
as acid trip peaks hallucination becomes one with machine bones
arms form solid coupling with shift of steering column
vibrations from gears shoot down legs – spine lying in transmission tunnel
cyborg metaphors warning against outsourcing of bodily functions to technology
turned on nonetheless – cyber fetishists remain at heart

ii. despite injurious prior flirtation with body modification
obsessional disabilities clad in leg braces
physical frames reconfigured by willing participation in numerous crashes
unique contours of scarred hands proudly display
deformed knees radiating humid fetishistic charge
jagged prose isolated body parts placed in geometric conjunctions with leather
cool car seats – disability enhanced steering wheels
chromium trim of vehicle movements form cryptogram of prosthetics flesh metal
boundaries between human machines obliterated

naturally such wounds worshiped via hypnotic obsession
ineluctable moment when couples fulfill pulpy techno lust
leg irons stroked as if admiring new car finish
entering / irrigating crash borne thigh scar
such trashy gleaming portmanteau world reflects soul back
small intense following of few psychopathic amputees
send more porno photos to warp minds
attracted to images and strange media senses
once considered repugnant

desperate to break free of inexplicable stupor succumbing to crash spell
machinic curves beguile – merge with ongoing fantasy of middle aged nurse
shimmering chromium callipers offset by blinding uniform white
minds cleave mind in two to never recover
automated response to spiritual affliction sickness etc

// war signs

i. one night drives under influence of pills
hoping altered reality replicates lsd crash insights
some rapturous vision of technological union – crippling loss of self
mass produced pharmaceuticals useless
only artisanal synthesised high of narration marries with machine
pull over to slip road convinced mobility means doom
see self driving off overpass in moment of heightened panic
bursting into flames below – hallucinating phantom trucks
surging headlong forcing to swerve onto oncoming lane

signs scarred with index of trauma through shatterproof glass of windscreen
desperate to decode numerical mystery
why had stars aligned so catastrophically in 91
what would tally instill such heavy dread
blighting one of worlds largest exurban conglomerates
machine calibrated for vehicles to move rapidly across long distances
from young age forced to bathe in metallic glow
developing subliminal awareness of status symbols
hidden meanings embedded in car culture

children once lived in suburbs in foothills of misty ranges
area crosshatched by endless freeways perpetually crawling
heavy duty industrial road trains – military grade enforcement vehicles
juiced up high speed muscle cars
service roads scarred landscape lined with tire outlets truck mechanics

ii. car showroom stench of petrol
industrial perfume of rubber coated air
there pub wedged into intersection between two major freeways
isolated as remote pacific islands
beer flows like water yet no footpaths lead to pub
quickest way to die by car drunk at wheel
on surrounding roads no pedestrian refuge islands exist
nowhere for walkers gain respite
walking unheard of since nobody walks in outer suburbia
not in environment designed to wipe people from earth’s dusty face

staring at sign feel chill sense of cosmic entrapment
as if parking in remote slip road many years ago draws body closer to location
until finally inhabiting prediction
realization once again adrift in mental space
last straw for battered psyche
steeled self for return of terrifying hallucinations defeated
by medical error pulsing relentlessly through bloodstream
nonetheless knowing one must wait it out
to let horror wash over in whatever form i.t might take
no matter risk to sanity as to feel cleansed/ emerged whole on other side
yet passing signs continue to interrogate midnight highway oversoul

// impotent roadkill

i. growing up subjected to endless stream of public safety announcements
made by transport accident commission
horrific productions warned of nightmares on roads – scenes of carnage
ashamed to discover primal jolt thrilling to bone
staged cautionary accidents with machine gun editing speed – cranked action
hyperfluid camerawork all trademarks of mad max which fourteen years earlier
reinvented cinematic car crashes
films tortured anti hero max rockatansky
burnt out speed addicted cop in decaying pre apocalyptic society
hotted up cars sanction murderous impulses of dehumanised psychos behind wheel
seductive split second cyborg rhythm of high octane driving
real intent to manipulate viewer to climax with state sanctioned illicit thrills
no other conclusion triggered at point of impact

precise moment supposed to solemnly condemn terror of roads
to feel fullest revulsion at casual violence underpinning lives implicated
in total horror of road crash seducing with undeniable pleasures of speed
to embraces total aesthetic experience of film crash
they are two versions of reality separated by ideology
doubtless transport accident commission films designed to evoke
psyche mimicking stylistic tropes drawing upon cultural resonance
storied symbol of predilection for vehicular carnage placed within
shocking naturalistic context of crash sutures / dueling ideologies
embedded concept of inner space
alternative mindscape generated when characters react
against totalising systems of control so dream reality fused
each retaining its own distinctive quality

ii. yet in some way assuming role of its opposite
paradox framed in simplest terms – by undeniable logic
inner space engine of ambivalence powers crash
since for all novels radical sexuality side effects are queasy
disturbing revealing flipside of subversive dream logic
one particular sequence riven with existential dread
forced to plot uneasy childhood
with its normalized backdrop of violence
mapping onto strange new coordinates

// bludgeoned by billboards

i. television films of imaginary accidents
british equivalent of tacky ads bequeathing
vague sense of unease gruesome climax
of life being rehearsed years in advance
he even has premonition of how he’ll die
filmed unwittingly for televised psychodramas on some secret road
its location known only by filmmakers

one day he crashes into another car on motorway – admits fate
after being bombarded endlessly by road safety propaganda
almost reliving to find self in actual accident
although dimly aware rendezvous symptom
of inexorable logic drives this program of posthumanism
night understood only that sunlight had now become black
under watch of ominous sign slip road where he’d parked
mysterious roads upon which ballard would meet doom

marked for death simply by having viewed ads
thrilling guiltily to superbly crafted max aesthetic
attraction to technique absorbing into hyper simulated world
with no escape from vectors of speed or trauma

ii. for historians apocalyptic violence of mad max recalls moment
whens roads were truly killing fields
signs with confronting statistics begging return to form
killing fields now re opened for business
questions mark bolded in blood
to drive towards death – coercing us to beat previous records
as if powerless to halt carnage

during global oil crisis of mid 70s
read in paper about frustrated motorists turned feral at petrol station
attacking each other for last drops of fuel
later working as doctor treat numerous road accident victims
struck by nightmarish intensity
frequency of crashes
events interconnected as if city driven by malevolent forces

make funny noises
but few really understand whats happening
hurled through windscreens striking bonnets
in frozen moments people die
patterns forming on victims hands
puffed up into huge blood blister
signature of radiator emblem
stark incident underscores key insight of global acid trip
incomplete bodies fractured by demands of capitalism
bound together by signs – symbols of banal technology
disordered minds aligned with ciphers of auto death
received personal epiphany

iii. immutable natural law inextricably linked with one’s own pathetic death
drive with reason – prescribed accursed pills
mighty temporal shift outline of physical body syncing
out of phase with soul ontological layers rubbing together
moving apart again like tectonic plates
hands under dull luminescent glow of cars dashboard display
purplish hue as if photosynthesised electric light through skin
sit there for hours minutes or seconds
basking in purple light until car battery drained
dashboard glow no more
unable to recognize notion of self

// unfamiliar planet

i. something snapped inside night
glimpsing operating system propping up reality
crash exposed shape shifting narratives in media advertising
politics where every version of reality has negative image
shadow reality all part of synchronous system
keeps endlessly consuming new promises new lifestyles
new identities new tomorrows
endlessly consuming ourselves

what could be more normalized than metal skin
donned every time one enters cars
what could be more pathetic than road ragers
indulging in reckless pursuit of other vehicles
after being held up for few seconds on public tarmac
within inconsequence lurks death as philosopher paul virilio admits

ii. as ships were invented shipwrecks seemed to invent themselves
as planes manifested people invented skyscraper crashes
electricity also invented electrocution
concerned with such logic of accidents
now deploy mechanisms of ambivalence
to record visions of humanity simultaneously enthralled/
destroyed by technological environments
crashes simply fascinate without fascination
imply no value judgment however
except perhaps naked naturally subscribed to miracles

// driven by fanaticism

to never have enrolled as mature age humanities student
among less prestigious institutes of higher education
hoping insights allow making sense of ostensible subject matter
interlocking grid of capitalism consumerism social control
cover idols warped by pixelated green purple wash
badly rendered characters in low rent video games
appropriate metaphor for cyberpunk fate
virus accelerated by researcher johnny mnemonic
scripted by apparently iconic cyberpunk writer
lazy cinematic hack job turkey results
production gorged on tacky cyber special effects
resulting in messy overdriven incoherent narrative
fast paced explosion riddled ride through silicon valley
sum total little more than big dumb video clip
ripe for instantly forgettable consumption
by mtv primed target audience
margarine substitute available
to even most clueless of popcult magpies

in contrast to rapid obsolescence
valorised work as surpassing of science fiction
mutated form able to avoid absorption by media landscape
actively satirising generic baggage
crashes forensically examine fascination
sexualised violence as entertainment
wraparound ubiquity of car culture as extreme metaphor
to rub human face in its own vomit
then force it to look in dull mirror
crashes as no science fiction but worlds/ worlds

Example Reference Links


// how to play big science