J. G. Ballard and Making

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
De Gruyter /Open Cultural Studies



Dr Thomas Knowles (Birmingham City University)


J. G. Ballard’s fictional worlds are alive with making, remaking, repurposing and reinvigorating: ‘survival kits’ composed of unlike objects; the rekindling of creativity amongst the beach-fatigued denizens of Vermilion Sands; the surrealist constructs of ‘The Unlimited City’; the wound mappings and death scenarios of Crash; the consumerist totems and shrines of The Unlimited Dream Company, and more.

Amongst those that seek to mark difference between human beings and other animals, our ability to use tools and to reshape and reflect the world is often paramount. Why then does making, as much as denaturing and unsettling, seem so essential to Ballard’s project in works that radically destabilize binaries such as human/non-human, organic/inorganic, natural/cultural? Are the combinations of unlike objects and technologies in Ballard mere pataphysical play? Are they manifestations of derangement and/or faulty aesthetic judgement? Might the manipulation of objects and media point towards a means of resistance to seemingly reified social and political orders, or are such détournements inevitably recuperated?

This special issue seeks to explore these questions in the context of Ballard criticism and study, but also in the context of creative responses to Ballard’s work. As such we welcome proposals from creative practitioners, educators and researchers. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The repurposing of objects
  • Old or defunct technology
  • Junk and waste
  • Assemblage
  • Collage
  • Graffiti
  • Ballard and the plastic arts
  • Posthuman creativity
  • Film/painting/sculpture/jewellery/music etc. that responds to any aspect of Ballard’s work
  • Pedagogical essays and/or case studies that draw upon Ballard’s work and making



Please send proposals or abstracts of up to 500 words along with a short biography to Thomas Knowles thomas.knowles@bcu.ac.uk before  January 15, 2018. Manuscripts of 5000 to 8000 words will be due by May 1, 2018.