In memory of JG Ballard, who died a year ago today, here is the catalogue essay that Will Self wrote for the Crash exhibition at the Gagosian gallery in London recently:
“Illuminated arrays glowed through the night, like the perimeter lights of a colony of prison camps, a new gulag of penal settlements where the forced labour was shopping and spending … ” So wrote JG Ballard in his final novel, Kingdom Come, a dissection of crap modern Britain before the bubble burst. In Ballard’s evocation of society drifting waywardly into an elective collective psychopathy, it is the shopping mall that is the cynosure – at once a temple of consumerism and biosphere that, poisoned by re-circulated air and piped muzak, becomes wholly decoupled from the dull Surrey dormitory towns that surround it. More...
Will Self has written an essay about London from 1989 to 2009 for the London +10 exhibition at the Architectural Association Gallery in London, which is on until March 26. For more details visit their website here. Here is the essay in full: More...
Will Self kicks off a series of Lent Talks on Radio 4 on Wednesday February 24 at 8.45pm, reflecting on the relationship between art and spirituality.
There is also a version of Self’s talk in the New Statesman here.
For all those of you asking to see Will Self’s Sebald lecture, it’s now available on the Times website here, not just in the TLS. Enjoy it while there’s no paywall … or you can listen to it here.
For those of you who can read German, there’s also an interesting review of the lecture by Gina Thomas at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
An essay by Will Self on the ever-changing relationship between the literary and visual arts from John Keats to JG Ballard from Tate Etc.
You can now watch, as well as listen to, Will giving his Radio 3 lecture, here.
Will has written about his pipe collection in his study for Granta.
Will has written an essay focusing on celebrity and our uncomfortable relationship to it for Alison Jackson Confidential, published by Taschen, which has been reprinted in the Daily Telegraph.
Norman Foster comes to me: “I’m sorry,” he moans pitifully, shaking the cuffs of his shirt as if he was Marley’s ghost and they were silken chains. “Sorry…?” I gag on mucous sleep. “What the hell for?”
“Stansted,” the architect wails. “I never should’ve designed it that way. True, it looked good on the back of the envelope — and elegant once my team had put it on the Cad system, but I now realise that it’s a monstrous wedge of a building, a static plane crash of a structure, forever ramming a humungous divot out of the living, beating heart of old England! Aaaargh! Euurgh! Oh woe is little me!” More...
It matters where you are born. Not only the country or the city, the burg or the hamlet – but the precise location, its height above terra firma, its positioning in the welter of the world; for this is the still point at the exact centre of the ever expanding shock wave of your life. More...