Ballard and Bataille: topology of desire

When James has sex with the crippled social worker Gabrielle following a visit to the Earls Court motor show, it is not the authorised conjunctions of the gendered body which determines their erotic itinerary but the abrasions and indentations of flesh and leg-brace, the coincidence of the body and an intimate design technology. The wounds […]

Aesthetic Excess: Ballard and Stelarc

Radical art defies and transforms collective modes of understanding. Wagner’s famous “Tristan chord” segues between classical harmony, late romanticism and twentieth century atonality due to its ambiguous relationship to its tonal context. The aesthetic value of Xenakis’ Concret Ph lies partly in the technological potentials realized subsequently in granular synthesis techniques which employ global statistical […]

Ray Brassier on Transhumanism and its Critics

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/3922964/events/2254759/videos/24842111/player?autoPlay=false&height=360&mute=false&width=640   In this highly illuminating talk from EXPO1 at MOMA, Ray proposes that there is nothing inherently wrong with the transhuman reengineering of nature on the “promethean” grounds that nature has no ethical dispensation. Thus there is no natural, ontological or theological order violated by the extension of human cognitive powers or by the […]

Reading Stars: Nova by Samuel R. Delaney

  Samuel Delany’s writing has always fascinated me. On the one hand he’s an extraordinarily sensual writer.  His futures jangle your nerves. In the ‘Star Pit’ you feel his narrator’s dejection at being confined within a mere galaxy – a galaxy! But Delaney has also retooled SF to explore identity, language and social ontology. In Stars […]

Ballard’s Collision of Text and Thing

Back in 1999 I argued that that J G Ballard’s novel Crash employs a system of interlinked metaphors to construct an entirely self-referential system of desire and symbolic action: a ‘cyborgian symbolic’. The auto-destructive desires of Vaughan, ‘James Ballard’, Gabrielle and other members of Ballard’s ‘crash-pack’ refer always to a singular and impossible event which is […]

Ballard's Collision of Text and Thing

Back in 1999 I argued that that J G Ballard’s novel Crash employs a system of interlinked metaphors to construct an entirely self-referential system of desire and symbolic action: a ‘cyborgian symbolic’. The auto-destructive desires of Vaughan, ‘James Ballard’, Gabrielle and other members of Ballard’s ‘crash-pack’ refer always to a singular and impossible event which is […]