Landing Sites from Simon Sellars on Vimeo. This short film is based on the ‘reversible destiny’ theory of architects/conceptual artists Arakawa and Gins. I made it for a seminar I taught at the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, RMIT University. Turn up the volume.
I live in Melbourne, Australia and work in digital strategy: primarily social media policy, governance and training, but also mobile web policy and strategy. Previously, I was known as a writer, editor and academic. I was recognised for my work on the novelist J.G. Ballard; as an architecture critic; as a film critic specialising in short film and animation; and as an expert on the strange world of micronations.
In 2000, while working in marketing and communications at RMIT University, I founded Liquid Architecture, a festival of sound art, as part of a series of cultural events for the university. Now in its 14th year, Liquid Architecture has become a national event attracting international performers.
In 2002 I started as an editor at Lonely Planet Publications. In 2004 I became a travel writer for the company. Besides writing guidebooks to real nations, I co-wrote Micronations: the Lonely Planet Guide to Home-made Nations, published in 2006. In 2007 I visited Sealand, the most infamous and inaccessible micronation of all. To this day, I still get asked to give interviews on micronations.
In 2002 I founded Sleepy Brain, an online magazine dedicated mainly to Melbourne’s artistic culture. Sleepy Brain was unique for its time, and developed a loyal and wide readership (I continue to receive the occasional email asking what happened to it). It was deemed historically significant enough to be archived by PANDORA, the National Library of Australia’s Web Archive.
In 2005 I founded Ballardian, a magazine-style blog with guest contributors, dedicated to the work and influence of J.G. Ballard. Ballardian reached its peak around 2006-08 when it gathered attention in the UK press and appeared on the reading lists of numerous university courses and in the blurbs of Ballard’s novels. Writers Bruce Sterling, Michael Moorcock and Iain Sinclair were interviewed for Ballardian, as was Ballard himself.
In 2008 I completed my PhD on Ballard. I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy in 2009, and commenced work as a lecturer, tutor and researcher in cultural studies, architecture and digital media at various universities. My academic publications included five journal articles, two reviews, four book chapters, and co-editorship of two books and one special journal edition.
In 2011 I became editor of the bi-monthly magazine Architectural Review Australia (AR), overseeing it for seven issues. I relaunched the magazine, reconceptualising it from the ground up to include coverage of architecture in the wider Southeast Asia region and rebranding it as Architectural Review Asia Pacific in March 2012. I led AR’s push into iPad publishing, and, with AR’s art director, co-designed the concept for the first iPad edition, which appeared in November 2012.
In among these nodal points, I’ve had parallel careers as freelance journalist, freelance editor and freelance web designer. I’ve written for newspapers, websites and magazines, including a lengthy stint as RealTime magazine’s resident short film/animation reviewer. I’ve edited for universities, art galleries and film companies. I’ve designed websites for Greenpeace, literary festivals and health organisations.
The high point of my freelance activities was the publication in September 2012 of Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J.G. Ballard, 1967–2008 (Harper Collins/Fourth Estate), a labour of love I’d been working on since 2008. Here’s an interview I did to promote the book. Another highlight was obtaining a City of Melbourne arts grant for 2005-06 to publish Subterrain, a magazine project documenting the experiences and life stories of homeless and marginalised men and women at the Ozanam Community Centre in North Melbourne.
In October 2012, I returned to RMIT University as Senior Social Media Analyst. There, I’m currently developing, managing and implementing RMIT’s social media policy including training, strategy and advice. I also advise on policy and content strategy for mobile websites and apps.
My personal presence on social media includes my main Twitter account, which has close to 7,000 followers, and another Twitter account purely related to research into social media. I have the obligatory LinkedIn professional profile. I have an academia.edu account that houses all of my published academic writing. I also maintain Tumblr, Instagram, Vine and Twitter accounts linked to an overarching project, Applied Ballardianism – my ‘memoir from a parallel universe’. I curate another Tumblr, Social Dead Zone, which explores the dark side of social media, especially what happens to online identities when people die.
That’s it for now.