‘Zones of Transition': Micronationalism in the work of J.G. Ballard

Map of Lunghua (Lunghwa) civilian camp, Shanghai. Courtesy Rick McGrath. This essay by Simon Sellars was originally published in J.G. Ballard: Visions and Revisions, Jeannette Baxter and Roland Wymer, eds (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 230-48. Reproduced with thanks. The essay can be considered a companion piece to Sellars’ earlier ‘Extreme Possibilities: […]

Afterword: Changed by the Climate

All photos by Simon Sellars, Christchurch 2011. This piece was written in April 2011. It was originally published in October 2011 as the Afterword to Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe, eds Andrew Milner, Simon Sellars and Verity Burgmann (Melbourne: Arena Publications, 2011). TWO OBSERVATIONS While this volume was being prepared, the Tohoku earthquake […]

Hakim Bey: Repopulating the Temporary Autonomous Zone

Cover of Obelisk i inne eseje (2009), a Polish translation of Bey’s essays. Hakim Bey: Repopulating the Temporary Autonomous Zone, by Simon Sellars. Originally published in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Volume 4, Number 2, 2010, pp. 83-108. The poet and essayist Peter Lamborn Wilson is widely known for his anarchist manifesto “The Temporary […]

‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light': the b-movie as second sight

by Simon Sellars This is an earlier version of an article published in Continuum, Volume 24, Issue 5 October 2010, pages 721-33. Both versions were based on a paper given by Simon Sellars at the Monash University conference, B for bad cinema: aesthetics, politics and cultural value. Recent academic discussions of ‘badfilm’ and ‘paracinema’ have […]

Postcards from the Edgelands (for Marion Shoard)

37° 40′ 60S, 144° 56′ 60E Originally published in Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, Katrina Stoll & Scott Lloyd (eds), Berlin: Jovis, 2010. All photography by Simon Sellars. In the built environment, the ‘edgelands’ describes the interfacial interzone between urban and rural, a mix of rubbish tips, superstores, office parks, rough-hewn farmland, gas towers, […]

Stereoscopic Urbanism: JG Ballard and the Built Environment

Images by Michelle Lord, from Future Ruins (inspired by JG Ballard’s ‘The Ultimate City’), 2008. ‘Pulled apart by the elders, many of the sets revealed their internal wiring. The green and yellow circuitry, the blue capacitors and modulators, mingled with the bright berries of the firethorn, rival orders of a wayward nature merging again after […]

“Extreme Possibilities”: Mapping “the sea of time and space” in J.G. Ballard’s Pacific fictions

One of the more enduring misconceptions surrounding the work of J.G. Ballard is that it operates in the classical dystopian narrative mode, [1] supposedly mining pessimism, repression and the negativity of a post-industrial age.