On the heels of the essential book JG Ballard Quotes: Does The Future Have A Future?, our pals at RE/Search Publications have released JG Ballard: Conversations. This pocket-sized collection of interviews with Ballard is like a mind grenade in your pocket ready to blow wide open the terminal insanity of today and the psychopathologies of the near future. In the classic RE/Search tradition, Ballard responds brilliantly to queries from industrial music pioneer Graeme Revell of SPK, Survival Research Laboratories founder Mark Pauline, and RE/Search's own V. Vale. From the book:
"We now have an adolescent America with enough intelligence to run a war and run a vast economy. It's beginning to swallow its own myth. I worry for the future when the infantilizing process takes America and parts of Western Europe (including us) down with it, to be ten years old, or even younger. What happens when we get down to the nursery, and find we can't change our own diapers?" (from an interview with Graeme Revell. 2003)
"I sometimes think that in a sense we're entering a New Dark Age. The lights are full on, but there's an inner darkness … because we're retreating into a sort of [mind-set] of our pre-rational forebears who lived in a kind of animist world where everything had a spirit — every twig, every stone in a stream … where questions of guilt and anxiety and fear and aggression ruled our reflexes." (from an interview with V. Vale. 2004)
"I've often thought that the whole notion of the 'avant-garde' has vanished. The nearest you get to that is a sort of 'designer' avant-garde offering a stylized rebelliousness … a kind of Perrier avant-garde that's homogenized and made palatable for the weekend consumer."
"Today if you want to be the equivalent of the pioneering artist of the 1880's — if you want to be a Gauguin of the present day, you might actually go and buy a gun and shoot Margaret Thatcher and Princess Di! Its no longer enough to think in terms of changing the world through arts anymore. The arts are a form of purient entertainment." (from interviews with Mark Pauline. 1980's)
And for those in the San Francisco Bay Area, RE/Search and Survival Research Laboratories are hosting a book party blow-out this Saturday, September 10, at Hayes Valley Market. The evening will include panel discussions, music, photography displays, discounted RE/Search books, and a special "dynamic art installation" from Survival Research Laboratories. Link