Sterling: I think Ballard knows a great deal about the work of the surrealists in the 20s and 30s. So much so, that he is almost a surrealist writer. He quite frequently chose surrealist canvases for his own work, and they make a lot of sense. I think he also has a deep knowledge of modernist design and urbanism and architecture. He’s very aware of the roots of that in the 20s and 30s and how it developed, and the successes of the modernist programme and the failures of modernism, and the oncoming and rush of postmodernism. To be a good futurist, you need some kind of roots in the past. I think those are his roots, and those are the things he was looking at when he was quite young and he really is a scholar in those fields, and I think that has helped him a lot in his prognostications. Left: Simon Sellars. Photo by Martí Pons, courtesy CCCB 2008. Costa: [a question about Ballard’s influence on visual art] Sellars: I think it’s like Bruce and Vale have said, that Ballard has a surrealist background, has a very visual mindset. I think that aside from using that to explore his ideas of the subconscious and inner space, I think that in the 60s he saw how advertising was becoming basic in how we were shifting towards a visual culture. He has sort of encoded this into his writing. As we’re starting to see this happen, I think that aspect of his work is becoming more and more influential and people are really picking up on that.

November 16, 2010