Aphrodite 80 (Unfinished) Stills from animated digital collage, dimensions variable, 2021.

Situated in the field of expanded illustration practice, this practice-based research explores the entanglement and inter-relationship between a ‘script’ and its ‘image’ and uses methodologies that foreground intertextual approaches to illustration and image generation. The research utilizes the original autographic manuscripts of the writer JG Ballard (1930-2009) held in the British Library. JG Ballard is associated with social dystopian fiction and narratives that deal with the psychological effects of technology, society and the environment.


By going back to first origins, the manuscripts offer a new way to think about the process of illustration and adaptation. The manuscripts are the first stages in some of Ballard’s best-known works. Pages are typed, re-typed and altered, words are underlined and crossed out. The manuscripts are ‘sites’ that can be both excavated and built upon, and offer opportunities for new insights, through comparison with their known and published versions. The research attempts to illustrate that which is ‘lost’, ‘buried’ or ‘hidden’ and to explore the role that illustration has to the ‘incomplete’ or ‘fragmented’ text.


The core of the research is the forensic and material examination of the manuscripts, and the design and application of systems – both practical and conceptual – that measure and produce visual responses and correlations to the traces and remains of Ballard’s writing. Ballard’s linear writing is translated inter-dimensionally through digital and physical collage and modelling into new images, assemblages and animations.


By connecting the remnants and marginalia to metaphors and narrative devices of the autographic text, the project aims to propose the notion of ‘para-illustration’ – not simply a supplement or completion of the text in visual form, but an intervention that reveals the absences and remains as a new Ballardian literary landscape.


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