Artworking JG Ballard’s Super-Cannes
‘In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom. Our latent psychopathy is the last nature reserve, a place of refuge for the endangered mind.’
—JG Ballard, ‘Super-Cannes’
Published in 2000 JG Ballard’s ‘Super-Cannes’ was in many ways a farewell to the twentieth century and a hello to the twenty-first. It’s bleak — as if he was getting something off his chest. There are echoes of ‘High-Rise’ but without the dark comedic surrealism. It feels almost scientifically observed like Dr. Ballard is back in med school but this time dissecting human fallibility. He can’t wait to give you the next morsel of outrage like he’s leaving a trail towards some great amoral impasse… I can’t think of another novel that has made me so uncomfortable as I turned its pages, which bleed a version of nihilism it’s impossible to treat as fantasy. Twenty years ago, with the internet still in its infancy, maybe you could. But today we’re more transparent to ourselves than ever and with visibility comes responsibility… I suspect this was Ballard’s message.