A Ballardian Bestiary @ ballardian.com: “Fiction is a Branch of Neurology” by Matteo Pasquinelli

ballardian.com just published some excerpts of ‘Ballardian philosophy’ from Pasquinelli's book Animal Spirits bit.ly/tdHIvJ
The novels of J.G. Ballard can describe the nature of technology and the contemporary mediascape better than any philosopher, media theorist or cultural studies academic. During the mass media revolution, while spectres of the collective imaginary were flourishing on everybody’s television screens in a genuine “atrocity exhibition”, both academic and radical theorists were imploding in the semiotics of the image: postmodernism indeed reduced the image to a linguistic sign. Ballard and other science fiction writers, meanwhile, were left alone to map the new becoming of the media unconscious. In retrospect, it is increasingly apparent how the postmodern agenda and the church of simulacra functioned as an immunisation strategy of an armchair intelligentsia against the monsters emerging from the collective Id.
Ironically, the notion of ‘collective unconscious’ can itself be interpreted as a high culture sanitisation attempt to what was visibly and consciously intensifying at the core of mass media society: libido. As much as Deleuze and Guattari recognised that delirium is always social, political and historical (something not simply isolated to the morbid intimacy of a psychoanalyst’s couch), Ballard understood that “after Freud’s exploration within the psyche it is now the outer world of reality which must be quantified and eroticised”. Significantly, he began his cartography of the machinic unconscious of the West outside the mediated discourses of philosophy and psychoanalysis. His context was the American cultural imaginary of the ’50s and ’60s that colonised the European psyche by broadcasting morbid televisual images of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Marilyn Monroe’s second lives, the Vietnam war and so on. At the time of May ’68, Ballard’s own personal “counterculture” was on the other side of the barricades, on the side of power and mass media, where he discovered far stronger and more lysergic forces than in any leftist movement. From this science-fiction perspective on the mainstream, Ballard effectively anticipated the Guattarian schizoanalysis of the collective machinic unconscious. (...)