An existential odyssey weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm. The mediascapes of late capitalism reconfigure erotic responses and trigger primal aggression; under constant surveillance, we occupy simulations of ourselves, private estates on a hyperconnected globe; fictions reprogram reality, memories are rewritten by the future... Fleeing the excesses of 1990s cyberculture, a young researcher sets out to systematically analyse the obsessively reiterated themes of a writer who prophesied the disorienting future we now inhabit. The story of his failure is as disturbingly psychotropic as those of his magus—J.G. Ballard, prophet of the post-postmodern, voluptuary of the car crash, surgeon of the pathological virtualities pulsing beneath the surface of reality. Plagued by obsessive fears, defeated by the tedium of academia, yet still certain that everything connects to Ballard, his academic thesis collapses into a series of delirious travelogues, deranged speculations and tormented meditations on time, memory, and loss. Abandoning literary interpretation and renouncing all scholarly distance, he finally accepts the deep assignment that has run throughout his entire life, and embarks on a rogue fieldwork project: Applied Ballardianism, a new discipline and a new ideal for living. Only the darkest impulses, the most morbid obsessions, and the most apocalyptic paranoia can uncover the technological mutations of inner space. An existential odyssey inextricably weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm—a world become unmistakably Ballardian.
Providing an extensive reassessment of dominant and recurring themes in Ballard's writing, including historical violence, pornography, post 9/11 politics, and urban space, this book also engages with Ballard's 'late' modernism; his experimentation with style and form; and his sustained interests in psychology and psychopathology.
The historical continuity of spinal catastrophism, traced across multiform encounters between philosophy, psychology, biology, and geology. Drawing on cryptic intimations in the work of J. G. Ballard, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, André Leroi-Gourhan, Elaine Morgan, and Friedrich Nietzsche, in the late twentieth century Daniel Barker formulated the axioms of spinal catastrophism: If human morphology, upright posture, and the possibility of language are the ramified accidents of natural history, then psychic ailments are ultimately afflictions of the spine, which itself is a scale model of biogenetic trauma, a portable map of the catastrophic events that shaped that atrocity exhibition of evolutionary traumata, the sick orthograde talking mammal. Tracing its provenance through the biological notions of phylogeny and “organic memory” that fueled early psychoanalysis, back into idealism, nature philosophy, and romanticism, and across multiform encounters between philosophy, psychology, biology, and geology, Thomas Moynihan reveals the historical continuity of spinal catastrophism. From psychoanalysis and myth to geology and neuroanatomy, from bioanalysis to chronopathy, from spinal colonies of proto-minds to the retroparasitism of the CNS, from “railway spine” to Elizabeth Taylor's lost gill-slits, this extravagantly comprehensive philosophical adventure uses the spinal cord as a guiding thread to rediscover forgotten pathways in modern thought. Moynihan demonstrates that, far from being an fanciful notion rendered obsolete by advances in biology, spinal catastrophism dramatizes fundamental philosophical problematics of time, identity, continuity, and the transcendental that remain central to any attempt to reconcile human experience with natural history.
In the wake of the debates over high/low culture distinction spilling into the effective dismantling of the boundary that once separated them, the past decade has seen the explosion of ‘bad taste’ production on screen. Starting with paracinema or ‘badfilm’ – a movement that has grown up around sleazy, excessive, or poorly executed B-movies and has come to encompass disreputable and unworthy films – this trend has been evident in various formats: on television and in video-art, low-budget and straight to TV films, amateur and home movies. The proliferation of trash on screen can be seen as delivering the final blow to the vexed issue of taste. More importantly, it prompts a reconsideration of some critical issues surrounding production, circulation, understanding and teaching of ‘bad objects’ in the media. This collection of essays, written by international film and television scholars, provides detailed critical analysis of the issues surrounding judgements of cultural value and taste, feeling and affect, cultural morals and politics, research methodologies and teaching strategies in the new landscape of ‘after taste’ media. Addressing global and local developments – from global Hollywood to Australian indigenous film and television, through auteurs Sergei Eisenstein to Jerry Bruckheimer, on to examples such as Twilight to Sukiyaki Western Django – the essays in this book offer a range of critical tools for understanding the recent shifts affecting cultural, aesthetic and political value of the moving image. This book was originally published as a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies.