Passage 12


Ed Jansen writes again to notify me that the latest number of his web magazine, Passage, is now online, about which he says:

In Passage nr. 12 there are articles about a 17th century garden in The Hague, about the mysterious visit to The Hague by the Comte De Saint Germain. Was he really a enlightened man or a fraud? If you’re an occultist you’ll tend to believe the first, the historian thinks otherwise. Then there are the photos of the dancer and performer Hiroake Umeda. Strange movements underlined by light-effects. Living in a Capsule is a combination of the paintings by the Dutch artist Tjebbe Beekman and the work of J.G. Ballard. Lastly there is an article about Jan Bastiaans, the doctor who experimented with LSD to ‘free’ the victims of the concentration camps of the nightmares and repressed memories.

Once again the text content is in Dutch but that doesn’t exclude all visitors here. I hadn’t come across the work of Tjebbe Beekman before. His paintings of urban desolation are indeed a good match for one aspect of Ballard’s work, and they make an interesting contrast with Dick French’s earlier views of the author’s Drowned World.


Trust by Tjebbe Beekman (2005).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Drowned Worlds
Passage 11
Passage 10

Drowned worlds


Hollywood at Night (2006).

Alexis Rockman‘s paintings of swamped or ruined American landmarks present views which are a novelty in contemporary art galleries whilst being very familiar to science fiction readers. Many of these could well be illustrations for JG Ballard’s 1981 novel, Hello America, which imagined a depopulated United States reclaimed by flora and fauna. Others would suit The Drowned World, of course, and they bear favourable comparison with Dick French’s illustrated edition (below) which was also published in 1981.


Gateway Arch (2005).

Rockman’s hothouse atmospheres remind me of earlier paintings of Brazilian wildlife by another American artist, Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904), many of whose tropical landscapes only require a distant ruin or two to match Rockman’s work. (Tip via Design Observer.)


The Drowned World by Dick French (1981).

While we’re on the subject, Ballardian has posted the first of three features about my colleagues at Savoy Books, beginning with a Michael Butterworth interview which discusses some of Ballard’s connections with Savoy. One of the subsequent posts should see yours truly discussing the visual dimension of the Savoy world. More about that later.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The coming of the dust
Ballard and the painters