PRINT October 2009

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

IN MANY OF J. G. BALLARD’S NOVELS, the characters are left to wonder if they should stay or leave: “Are you going to stay on here?”1 When one is immersed in an overwhelming and intense environment like that of The Crystal World (1966), The Drowned World (1962), or The Burning World (1964)—or even that of an extreme high-rise, an abandoned highway, or a decaying leisure zone—whether to stay or leave becomes a very important question. All the more so when the environment itself slowly produces a new psychogeographic condition, seeming to contaminate all thoughts, dreams, and desires. The same questions arise in certain aesthetic experiences. How do we digest and metabolize intense perceptions, uncomfortable visions, and disorienting situations? How do such extreme conditions match or produce our interior landscapes?

A few days after Ballard died, I was reminded of the way in which he disturbed

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