Seinfeld meets JG Ballard

Claire L. Evans examines the classic Seinfeld episode "The Parking Garage" as a "specifically Ballardian nightmare: the pornography of infinity, somehow contained within a New Jersey mall."

Like the Unidentified Space Station (in this JG Ballard short story), which conceals, from the outside, its magnificent vastness, The Parking Garage becomes its own world, a replacement—literally, since they broke the apartment set down to build the mirror-garage—for the comfortable parameters of Jerry Seinfeld’s ordinary world. It seems to have its own mores; Elaine, desperately seeking a stranger to drive them around the lot and help find the car, only comes into contact with indifference and aggression. No one will help, because on some level no one here is real.
"The Parking Garage" (Thanks, Chris Arkenberg!)

New collection of interviews with JG Ballard

NewImage

Extreme Metaphors is a brand new anthology of interviews with one of my all-time favorite writers, JG Ballard, master of surrealist science fiction, dystopian visionary, and brilliant cultural critic. Co-edited by Simon Sellars of the Ballardian blog and Dan O'Hara, the book collects 44 interviews with Ballard by a fantastic array of contributors including BB pals Mark Dery, V. Vale, and Richard Kadrey, along with Iain Sinclair, Jon Savage, David Cronenberg, and others. Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008 (Ballardian, thanks Mark Dery!)

Bristol street art exhibition transforms Ballardian brutalist street

Tim sez,
This weekend saw the final unveiling of the the See No Evil project in Bristol; Europe's largest street art exhibition. It is, to say the very least, an extraordinary, breathtaking achievement. Graffiti artists not just from Bristol but around the globe descended on Nelson Street, transforming the whole area from drab, urban decay into what feels like a new -- almost virtual -- space...

The science fictional aspect of See No Evil becomes even more heightened when you consider the history of Nelson Street. It is yet another example, amongst the hundreds that dot the urban landscape of Britain, of 1950/60s post war planning and architecture that aimed to herald a new, futuristic, technology-driven utopia. But of course the future's greatest strength is that it can never be predicted and tamed, let alone designed or planned. The town planners and architects failed, and as the decades passed they watched their dreams descend into decay, shunned by popular taste and left to become associated with poverty, depravation and failure. And to add the ultimate insult to their injuries, they saw their utopian designs become the defining science fiction image of a dystopian future.

From utopia to dystopia and back again – See No Evil, Bristol (Thanks, Tim!)