J.G.Ballard: Four Text Collages, 1958


Beautiful early Cut-Ups by J.G.Ballard at the British Library:


J G Ballard created this series of four graphically experimental text collages in the late 1950s. The work was later titled Project for a New Novel. Ballard formed the ‘novel’ from scientific and technical material cut from professional literature such as Chemical and Engineering News (Ballard then worked for the journal of the Society of Chemical Industry). […]

There are three recognisable characters – Coma, Kline and Zero. Time is a recurring theme, epitomised in headlines such as ‘TIME ZONE’ and ‘…Coma”, Kline murmured, “let’s get out of time”’. The work does not follow a traditional or coherent plot, challenging the reader to arrive at their own interpretation of the collaged text. Ballard declared it, ‘a deliberately meaningless text, the idea being that the imaginative content could be carried by the headlines and overall design’. Yet the combination of headlines and scientific source material give the work an air of plausibility. As Ballard commented, ‘Curiously enough, far from being meaningless, the science news stories somehow become fictionalized by the headings around them’.