Seminar by Brighton student Elena Solomides at Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
15 Aug 2013
Final year architecture student Elena Solomides has recently presented the paper ‘JG Ballard’s High-Rise as a critique of modern living' based on her dissertation as part of the Alternative Worlds series of seminars in visual culture at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies (part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London).
JG Ballard’s writing has been seen as indicative of our society, and often examines our psychology and environment. This paper therefore aims to use Ballard as a way of understanding our relationship with architecture and technology.
It will focus on JG Ballard’s 1975 book High-Rise, which explores the resident’s changing psychology and relationship with the architecture and technology. I will examine this relationship in terms of the response to technology, its alienating affect, the isolation and internalisation caused by the architecture and the inter-relationship between the mind, the body and the environment.
Ballard explores the architecture and technology not as the reason for the change in the resident’s thoughts and actions but sees them as the medium for a more free psychological expression. Ballard’s writing will be compared to existing realities and investigations into society and psychology, in order to determine the relevance of his writing and how we can use it to better understand the society we live in.
Through this examination this paper hopes to reveal the ways in which Ballard has looked at technology, architecture and society and the relationship between them. Also how Ballard’s writing is relevant and reflective of society, taking his hyper-real situations and understanding what they may say about human reality. To this end the question being posed is: How is JG Ballard’s High-Rise reflective of humanity’s relationship to technology and architecture?
See also: History and Theory