Ballard: Our need for catastrophes

The cultural revolution of the 1960s had an undeniably profound impact on the people who lived amidst its birth pangs. In 1986 a film crew came to make a short documentary about the writer JG Ballard. In the interview, Ballard pointed out that the world which we inhabit requires a certain amount of oil to make the cogs go around and keep the wheels turning. For Ballard it was sex which played such a role in the 1960s, but now sex is no longer a new frontier and increasingly violence has become the oil which keeps the wheels turning. The … Continue reading

High-Rise is not so far from reality


The new film adaption of JG Ballard’s classic 1975 novel High-Rise has been a while coming. Much like the power-cuts that interrupt life in the novel’s namesake, various attempts to translate the book for cinema have been erratic, and ultimately failed. But with director Ben Wheatley’s effort garnering positive reviews and critical acclaim, perhaps it is useful to reconsider the story’s meaning. High-Rise tells the story of Robert Laing – a middle class doctor who moves into a complex of futuristic, luxury tower blocks just outside of London. The building where Laing lives is designed to provide everything its residents … Continue reading

Where Heidegger meets Ballard…

JG Ballard, Writer

The examples Heidegger chose are seemingly far removed from the forms of art which saturate our world today. This seems especially true when talking about JG Ballard, a science fiction writer whose primary influences include Freud and Dali. And yet it seems as though Heidegger’s view of art is highly applicable to Ballardian fiction. For Heidegger art can be identified in what it does for society and the individual. It can function to ‘found’ the world of a society and for an individual already in such a world it can ‘light up’ this world and Being itself. These are both … Continue reading