Ballard’s World: Reactivation not Reaction

In the future – this is part of the problem in the ‘arts’ as well – you will get some radical new idea, but within three minutes it’s totally accepted, and it’s coming out in your local supermarket.

– J.G. Ballard

Ballard loved the surrealists, but discovered that we didn’t need to express the surreality of the world because it was already being done by consumer culture. For Ballard it was Warhol and Pop-Art that was the wave of the future, at least in the period he was writing Crash and Atrocity Exhibition. As he’d say:

“We haven’t changed. It’s the public who have caught up with us. In England in the sixties and seventies, the novel was secondary, far behind the visual arts as a purveyor of the imagination for a cultivated public. This latter group preferred then to interest themselves in pop art, in David Hockney or Andy Warhol. As far as fiction was concerned, television replaced it. …

The surrealists have been the biggest influence on me, because they anticipated by about fifty years the fact that the external environment can be remade by the mind and that this is the world we inhabit now, where external reality is a complete fiction in every conceivable way.”1

Continue reading