JG Ballard Billboard Project

In the late 1950s J.G. Ballard applied for Arts Council funding for a series of billboards he had designed. He envisioned his experimental graphic collages as a series of large-scale public advertisements.  Inspired by cubist and surrealist techniques, the four collages used text culled from scientific, chemical and engineering journals. Unfortunately the funding for the billboard project was rejected but Ballard re-purposed these collages as Project for a New Novel, a series of concrete poems published in New Worlds and Ambit in the early ’60s.

Here are the billboards as re-imagined in a Twenty-First Century urban context.



Ballard and Tanguy


“On the right, exorcizing this memory, was a faded reproduction of a small painting he had clipped from a magazine, ‘Jours de Lenteur’ by Yves Tanguy. With its smooth, pebble-like objects, drained of all associations, suspended on a washed tidal floor, this painting had helped to free him from the tiresome repetitions of everyday life. The rounded milky forms were isolated on their ocean bed like the houseboat on the exposed bank of the river.” (11)

“For Ransom, the long journey up the river had been an expedition into his own future, into a world of volitional time where the images of the past were reflected free from the demands of memory and nostalgia, free even from the pressure of thirst and hunger.”(217)

“The light failed, and the air grew darker. The dust was dull and opaque, the crystals in its surface dead and clouded. An immense pall of darkness lay over the dunes, as if the whole of the exterior world were losing its existence.” (233)


On the clamouring for more Twin Peaks


Another series of Twin Peaks? Nooooooo. There will be no more Twin Peaks. That was it! There is no more to come. That is the ending. That is closure. Sad, lonely, heartbreaking as it was, that was the conclusion and final ending to Twin Peaks. An extra layer of sadness is that it could be David Lynch’s final statement. The last thing he ever does for TV or movies. If that is so then what a fitting way to go out. What a bravura way to end a career. This man and his singular vision. The American artist of our times.

And what about that last episode? I was totally blown away by that ending. Devastated is not the word. I actually went to bed scared! I lay in bed mulling over what I had seen,  uneasy, the darkness of the bedroom as black as if I was a kid again woken by night terrors. Spent the next day in mild depression and sad fug about that lost world of Twin Peaks. Popped like a dream. I was the dreamer all along. Something desperately sad about the nature of dreaming and its relationship to storytelling and the fictions we tell ourselves. So hard to analyse just what occurred in the last hour, hard to put into words. Actually I don’t think you can. I’ve been going down the rabbit hole of reading a million different comments on the Internet, but ultimately futile I think, trying to get a logical analysis of what happened. It defies logic and definite readings. As Philip Jeffries said, it’s slippery in here. Meaning isn’t fixed, it’s slippery. Personally I think the key to summation is to  look at the emotions you felt watching it. As the characters became dislocated from their identities and their world. And with those long long driving scenes, uncomfortable, I started to worry knowing there was only 10 minutes left, how would this thing end? Then Laura Palmer’s last scream, my skin literally crawled, all the hairs on my arms stood on end. My heart started racing. I can’t remember anything else giving me such a strong physical reaction. Was it pure existential dread that Lynch tapped into? Genius filmmaking. That wasn’t a TV show, I just watched. It just happened to be delivered on TV. But that was something else entirely. I’m still not exactly sure what, but whatever it was, I am totally blown away. Totally satisfied. And totally heartbroken.