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.
Once, I made my living as a writer, editor and academic. I became known for my work on the novelist J.G. Ballard; as an architecture critic; as a film critic specialising in short film and animation; as a travel writer; and as an expert on the strange world of micronations. Then the world changed. Now, I work in digital strategy. I design and write social media policy. I advise on website curation. I design mobile web strategy. I still write the occasional article…
Perhaps I should fill in the gaps. It might help.
In 2000, I founded Liquid Architecture, an Australian national festival of sound art, now in its 14th year.
In 2002, I started as an editor at Lonely Planet Publications. In 2004, I became a Lonely Planet travel writer, co-writing guidebooks to real nations as well as Micronations: the Lonely Planet Guide to Home-made Nations. In 2007, I visited Sealand, the most infamous and inaccessible micronation of all.
Also in 2002, I founded Sleepy Brain, an online magazine about Melbourne’s artistic underground that’s been archived by PANDORA, the National Library of Australia’s Web Archive.
In 2005, I founded Ballardian, another influential online magazine, documenting the work and influence of J.G. Ballard. Ballardian has featured interviews with Ballard and writers Bruce Sterling, Michael Moorcock and Iain Sinclair. At its peak, it was on the reading lists of many university courses, mainly literature and urban design.
From 2005-06, I received a City of Melbourne arts grant to publish Subterrain, a print magazine written by and about Melbourne’s homeless and marginalised men and women. From 2005-10, I wrote a series of articles on film, animation and architecture for Australian and international newspapers, websites and magazines.
In 2008, I completed my doctorate on Ballard, graduating with a PhD in 2009. I’ve taught in cultural studies, architecture and digital media. My academic publications include five journal articles, two reviews, four book chapters and co-editorship of two books and one journal.
In 2011, I became editor of the magazine Architectural Review Australia (AR). I redesigned and relaunched AR to include architecture and urbanism from the Southeast Asia region, rebranding it as Architectural Review Asia Pacific. Soon after, I co-designed the concept for AR’s first iPad edition.
In 2012, Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J.G. Ballard, 1967–2008 was published by Fourth Estate. I conceived and co-edited this large volume, a true labour of love. In 2014, the paperback edition was published, with a beautiful new cover.
Late in 2012, I started a new job at RMIT University: as Senior Social Media Analyst, designing and delivering University-wide social media policy, training and strategy. The role has since morphed into overall digital strategy, advising on best practice for RMIT’s websites and mobile channels, as well as social media.
My personal Twitter account posts items mainly of a Ballardian nature. I’ve got 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, about what happens to online identities when people die.
Should I fill in the gaps? How long have you got? A minute? Two?
OK. What connects it all is world-building. I like documenting communities. I like researching them and I like designing them. After all, I am a scholar of utopias and dystopias: I know what works and what doesn’t.