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RE/Search, J.G. Ballard and New Brutalist aftermath aesthetics

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Abstract:

This article explores the relationship between RE/Search Publications and J.G. Ballard. It demonstrates how RE/Search have negotiated a series of presentations of Ballard’s work that not only elucidate many of the subtle nuances of Ballard’s fiction but also serve to encourage new understandings of the oeuvre. Focusing on three main areas, this article first explores some reasons why the countercultural context provided by RE/Search became a perfect place to find Ballard’s work from the late 1970s onwards. Second, I consider how the form of RE/Search’s publications both serve to nuance Ballard’s original avant-garde Atrocity Exhibition experiment, but also how it encourages new understandings of the text and Ballard’s wider project as a whole. Here I focus in particular on not only Ballard’s authorial notes added to The Atrocity Exhibition in RE/Search’s 1990 edition, but also how the layout and design of the publication encourages new ways to interpret the text. Finally, I demonstrate how the visual elements of RE/Search’s Ballard publications elicit a greater understanding of Ballard’s project, and here I begin to point to the ways in which Phoebe Gloeckner’s illustrations in particular have informed and fed into my own understandings of Ballard’s oeuvre, which recalibrates Ballard’s fiction through a visual lens, particularly that of New Brutalism.

Keywords: Ana Barrado; J.G. Ballard; New Brutalism; Phoebe Gloeckner; RE/Search; aftermath

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.30.2.151_1

Affiliations: Kingston University

Publication date: August 30, 2011

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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