Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Silo

As a break from the ongoing first-draft death march, went down to the Gagosian gallery in King's Cross last Saturday, to see Crash, an homage to JG Ballard. All Ballard's tropes - high rises, autopias, crashed aeroplanes, clinical depictions of sex, a strong dash of surrealism - were present. I particularly liked three strong photographic pieces: Cyprian Galliard's A View of Sighthill Cemetery, Florian Maier-Aichen's Untitled (Freeway Crash), and Tacita Dean's Teignmouth Electron, Cayman Brac (Ballard). Also Jane and Louise Wilson's video installation, Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard, with its Kubrickian glides and pans of ruins of the Soviet space-age, and Roger Hiorns's Untitled, a pair of car engines encrusted with copper sulphate crystals (geddit?). Overall, though, I came away with the feeling that the term 'Ballardian' is in danger of becoming so diffuse as to lose any focus or edge it might once have. All high-rises aren't really 'Ballardian', are they? Surely only the ones in which feral yuppies grill joints of dead dog on their high-end barbecue kettles really count . . .

Across the road from the gallery was a car park on a piece of waste ground, something increasingly less common in London thanks to the property boom (although the current slump might reverse that). And in the middle of the car park was this brick shaft, like a steampunk missile silo, or the entrance to some forgotten subterranean kingdom. My faith in Ballard's visions of cities fatally infected with entropic dis-ease was instantly restored.

5 Comments:

Blogger Larry said...

Hmmm, you like your Steampunk huh! Have you seen that steampunk PC thats going about the net? Brass tubes and a keyboard with big brass buttons like an old typewriter!

As for Ballard-must find more to read! Drowned World was fantastic!

March 10, 2010 7:04 pm  
Blogger George Berger said...

That was my first, Larry. It is excellent.

March 11, 2010 8:50 am  
Blogger Larry said...

I've also read Crystal World and another from that era,but it was soooo long ago! I also have Empire of the Sun to read-I absolutely love the film and must read the book!

March 11, 2010 9:58 am  
Blogger Couch said...

Hey Paul...love your work. Just wondering if you're going to release Gardens of the Sun in ebook format? I caught the ebook bug and now I only read ebooks... Dead tree are just too unwieldy nowadays. Gosh...that would've been close to blasphemy if I'd heard someone say that to me just a few years ago!

Anyway...looking forward to reading it. I've read just about everything you've written...but Quiet War was GREAT! So I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up....
Google lists an ebook through Orion Books...but, that link is dead now. Plus...didn't Orion become something else? Or been bought out? Gollancz is your publisher now, right?

Thanks for everything...

March 11, 2010 2:57 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Hi Couch,

You can get it through amazon.com, on Kindle. Also through WH Smith ebooks or Waterstones ebooks (google their sites, then search by title).

(Gollancz is indeed my publisher, (part of Orion, btw...), but they don't sell the ebook directly. Sorry that links on their site are carked. I should put up links, have been a bit busy with other things.)

March 11, 2010 3:18 pm  

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