An interdisciplinary gaze in the representation of crime as a socio-spatial phenomenon in J.G. Ballard's work.
The aim of this essay is to propose an inter-disciplinary approach to the use of architectural discourse in literary oeuvre of J.G. Ballard. The study is based on the idea of the potential of literary science fiction to contribute to architectural discourse. In this respect, the spatial representation of the social phenomenon of "crime" is employed in the study in order to prove the relationship between the two realms. The main aim is to investigate, underline and interpret the potential of literature to display and reveal the spaces created by literal description. The study departs from regarding literature as a socio- cultural medium only. Since literature involves the translation and interpretation of spatial experience into narrative structure or language, this study also regards literature as a spatial medium. This textual aspect of literature creates new understandings and new meanings for architecture. As Thompson has said, "[o]ur individual interpretation of space and place is endlessly dynamic and subjectively charged with our own perceptions. A writer can offer us another experience of space--another point of view, no less subjective, but outside our own, and charged with a different perception" (321).
In this respect, the oeuvre of the British science-fiction writer J. G. Ballard (1930-2009) can be regarded as an abundant source of examples of the relationship between science fiction literature and architectural discourse. The work of Ballard-"a science fiction writer, an avant-garde writer, an experimental writer, and a new wave writer" (Goddard and Pringle, 1976)--which has gained "admiration for its philosophical and intellectual rigor, imaginative language, and singular vision" (Zott 2014) has a considerable impact on the genre of science fiction. It is also possible to find Ballard's work cited in architectural discourse; for example, Sellars suggests "an interdisciplinary, specifically Ballardian approach" to "shake architecture out of its 'business as usual' mentality, forcing it to confront the global economic and environmental crises just over the horizon" (86). Sellars also recommends that architects read and study Ballard since his work gives the possibility of learning from fictional environments that are
pursued to their logical extremes, and then bent backwards or forwards through time to go completely beyond logic [...]Only then should we overlay the virtual with the actual to create a stereoscopic representation, a truly interstitial process that places the user at the center with the power to inform, direct, stage and manage the terms of his or her movement through time and space, perhaps nudging us one step closer to a read/write city in which we are free to 'tune' the built environment, free to contribute to the conditions of our cohabitation. (Sellars 86)
Irwin (1977) suggests that "it is hard to think of another writer whose visions would be so nearly expressive as paintings" (in Vale, 1984).
In terms of the relationship between architecture and literature, there are several themes that re-appear over and over. This study chooses to discuss the phenomenon of "crime", which is one of Ballard's key frameworks to critique Modern architecture and planning. "Crime" also highlights the relationship between the built environment and human behavior. Ballard employs this theme mainly for modern societies that are trapped in gated communities. The phenomenon of crime appears as a pattern in Ballard's discourse, especially in his novels such as High Rise (1975), Running Wild (1989), Cocaine Nights (1996), Super Cannes (2001) and Kingdom Come (2006), which will all be analyzed in this study.
Crime as a social phenomenon in Ballard's work appears within the so-called "gated communities" more often than expected due to the nature of these communities and their physical containers, which will further be explained in this study. The emergence of crime in gated communities represents itself as a socio-spatial phenomenon. Accordingly, as a research method, several themes have been chosen from these five novels and discussed in terms of the themes "crime as a result of density and height factors", "crime as a result of isolation" and "crime as a result of class", in two different scales: the building (architectural) scale and the urban scale. These themes are firstly displayed through architectural discourse, such as the writings of Jane Jacobs, Oscar Newman, Edward Blakely and Mary Gail Synder, Peter Marcuse, Setha M. Low, and Allan Jacobs and Donald Appleyard. A parallel reading through these five Ballard novels is undertaken to support these discourses.
The Phenomenon of Crime within Ballard's Work
The phenomenon of crime is itself an inter-disciplinary issue included within the scope of many disciplines such as urban design, human ecology, neurology, psychological learning theory, sociology, environmental psychology, law, sociology, psychology, city planning, Geographical Information Systems, and environmental criminology (Remy, 2014; Duzgun, 2007). Analyzing crime in conjunction with the built environment is quite an important topic. As Hideg and Manchin (2007) state "[a]s a result of research that relate crime with space and people that use space, it has been observed that the relationships of users of the environment with themselves or their environments has a direct relationship with the security or crime issues in that space" (in Atag 18). In addition, Jefferey asserts that urban environments affect criminal behavior both physically and socially by providing the physical surroundings as well as by providing the social relationships to which individuals respond(215).
Another aspect of crime is that it is a phenomenon related to modern societies. Duzgun descibes the reaction of modern people as "the reaction that normal people show to abnormal social conditions" (5). Crime can be seen as the social disorder that results from the loss of social control and the collapse of traditional social values in the modern world. The relationship between the built environment and human behavior is emphasized in the discourses of various architectural critics as well.The issue modern urban planning principles and gated communities are two major issues that are generally criticized in terms of the issue of crime. Modern urban planning theories and/or realizations are at the center of such discourse in terms of the inhumane environments suggested through them. Schwarzer has reviewed Le Corbusier's description of the city in the Athens Charter (1943), as a place for realizing group as well as the individual psychology in order to define it as an area of modern economic, political and technological developments: "The city, melodramatically, was the site for the realization of modern economic and political relations, technological development, as well as group and individual psychology; it was also a masterful shaper of its surrounding geography, topography, demography, and sociology" (240). Although Le Corbusier is not the only architect/planner in proposing such modern urban planning principles, he usually credited as being as one of the leading practitioners. Richards (2007) identifies him as being unaware of the "danger of criminality" of the anti-social elements he imposes by his architecture.
The representation of crime is an effective tool for Ballard to construct his main theme, which relies on how environmental factors affect the mental states of the inhabitants and how technology can take people back to their primitive souls. Ballard commonly associates the psychology of the hero with the urban context. It is possible to read such a Ballardian approach as arguing that the modern landscape makes modern man's experience a socio-pathologic and psychopathologic one that results in committing crime in almost all the dystopias that he constructs. The discourse of Ballard, in which he claims architecture directly affects human behavior, is thus carried to a psychopathologic level. In other words, Ballard states that the physical and the social outcomes of modern utopias result in traumatic modern individuals. In Zott's terminology (2014), "[Ballard's] primary emphasis has been on inner space and the psychological processes of his characters".
Pathological psychologies that are carried to their extreme within a modern landscape can easily be traced in Ballard's literature. Ballard's main premise in his novels is how environmental factors affect the "inner landscape" of the inhabitants of a settlement; (1) how technology can take people back to their primitive moods and how life styles are pre-designed, packed and sold. In the novel High Rise (1975), it is a technological environment that creates the spatial medium for committing crime. The building--abandoned in the sky"--creates social isolation that results in the formation of enemy groups between the inhabitants of a high-rise building. In addition, a class hierarchy created by the arrangement on different levels is another factor that creates this situation. In the case of the novel Running Wild (1989), a suburban physical construct is described so well that it can be seen as a direct reference to the topic gated communities seen in architectural discourse. The children of the community in Running Wild, who are displayed as the critical ones in the community, react to the extreme orderliness of the physical qualities of the settlement and the way that they are watched. In both Cocaine Nights (1996) and Super Cannes (2001), all inhabitants show psychopathologies, either consciously or unconsciously, by interfering with criminal activities to overcome the boredom presented to them by the perfect physical order of the settlements. In Kingdom Come (2006), it is the space itself in particular which is the cause of the crime.
Crime As a Result of Density and Height Factors
The density of a living environment and the extreme heights that belong to high-rise typology are two major factors that define the issue of crime in living environments. The tower-block or high-rise apartment building as the icon of utopian modernist architecture is presented as a familiar signifier for crime and for crime fiction by Clandfield (110). In terms of density, Newman (27) points out that project size affects crime rates,
[i]f the two variables of building heights and project size are coupled, the probability of crime increases to the extent that it is possible to guarantee a higher crime rate in virtually all projects of excessive height and size". He also points out the vertical segregation of high rises is "the reason [they] are considered dangerous" because "people who live in them cannot defend--see, own, or identify--their territory (in Low 2003a: 391). (2)
The novel High Rise can be regarded as an effective source to represent the occurrence of crime due to both density and height aspects. It is the major source to display how Ballardian discourse evaluates the phenomenon of "high rise" presented by the principles of modernist planning. The high-rise in the novel High Rise is a self-sufficient high-tech communal skyscraper; it is a commonly owned forty-storey apartment building on the periphery of London. The novel is structured around the perceptions about the "modern life" of the three main characters in the building: Laing, a physician; Wilder, a television producer and Royal, an architect (in fact, the architect of the high-rise). In High Rise, the building requires a new spiritual mood and a new personality, whose behavioral code is crime and criminality. In Sellars' words, "[it] charts the breakdown of the social order in a neo-Corbusian (3) residential building"-a "vertical city" (85) with its 1,000 apartments and 2,000 urban-dwellers that offers a variety of facilities offered by modern life: swimming pool, school, supermarket, rapid elevators, etc. The building, along with these physical conditions, prepares the ground for violence: "With its forty floors and thousand apartments, its supermarket and swimming-pools, bank and junior school--all in effect abandoned in the sky-the high-rise offered more than enough opportunities for violence and confrontation" (Ballard 7).
Crime As a Result of Isolation in Gated Communities
Stone mentions that crime and cities go together both in our minds and in real life (89). In addition to the issue of crime at the building scale, it is also important to talk about crime at the urban scale. Jacobs and Appleyard (1987) suggest that crime in the streets causes the formation of suburban gated community settlements as a new form of city, which they define as "one of closed, defended islands surrounded by wastelands of parking lots" (in LeGates and Stout 522). The issue of isolation and segregation (4) that is put forward as "the fundamental feature of production and urbanization of (in)justice" (Soja 55) in urban life is the main theme that results from the security obsession imposed on modern societies. Jefferey (1971) exposes this situation as a vicious cycle: "If people are afraid, they remain inside behind locked doors, and such withdrawal increases the isolation of the street, thus increases the crime rate" (216). As the crime in a living environment increases, security precautions also increase, and vice versa.
Gated communities are an attempt at providing the wish of complete security. Koksal relates the appearance of gated community settlements to the dissolution within the relationship among people-housing and the city (79). At this point, Koksal explains the replacement of place-bound security feeling with space-bound security, which refers to the replacement of natural security systems with that of abstract/artificial ones. In this sense, ibikoglu criticizes gated suburbs, since they do not offer permanent solutions to any struggle with crime as well as criminals, as conservative and pragmatist solutions. Marcuse defines the security precautions in gated communities as pseudo-safety suggesting that "walls" do not provide full security. Marcuse puts forward this as: "Do walls provide security against attack, a protection of privacy? That depends. And it depends not so much on the composition of the walls themselves, as on their social role"(101).Low (2003b) maintains a similar idea as she suggests that gated communities are not safer than non-gated neighborhoods, where crime rates are already low. She describes gated communities as middle-class understandings of the nature of criminal activity; and furthers that "[u]nfortunately, moving up in class position may actually increase a person's sense of potential victimization" (Low 11). Due to the typical word used to describe gated communities-isolation-the majority of residents say that they do not know or are not particularly friendly with their neighbors, which adds to their sense of social isolation and contributes to their feeling vulnerable and scared (Low, 2003b 130).
Jacobs emphasizes the fact that as human activity increases in cities, the possibility to observe each other also increases, which then decreases the crime factor (in Duzgun 7). (5) In her own words, "[t]ogetherness, apparently a spiritual resource of the new suburbs, works destructively in cities. The requirement that much shall be shared drives city people apart" (Jacobs62). Parallel to this discourse, Newman proposes a juxtaposition of residential areas with other "safe" functional facilities: commercial, institutional, etc., explaining the "presence of many people engaged in like activities, thus providing a number of possible witnesses who might choose to come to the aid of a victim" (109). Murray also puts forward "informal social control" as a significant factor to prevent crime,"[t]he observability of crime can be improved by designing the use of space to increase the number of friendly 'eyes on the street'. The greater the number of observers, the greater the probability that an offender will be seen in the act" (109).
Gated communities define "the other" and put the blame on the other. However, Ballard defines the crime factor in every human being that can be stirred up through the built environment. Ballard mentions crime as something that does not belong to the other, but inherent in our "inner landscapes". He displays the results of segregation and security precautions in terms of extreme orderliness as a physical consequence and social isolation that results in boredom as a social consequence. In the end, Ballard's grand statement is that these are all against human nature. He displays the theme of extreme orderliness in the novel Running Wild (1989), which is-just like High Rise-about a gated community (6) that is entirely self-sufficient, but this time on a suburban scale. The novel is about a massacre that takes place in a peaceful, wealthy gated community located in Pangbourne Village, a suburban 'utopia' in the west of London. The community is described as being "secure behind their high walls and surveillance cameras and constitut[ing] a chain of closed communities whose lifeline run directly along the M4 to the offices and consulting rooms, restaurants and private clinics of central London" (Ballard14).
According to Ballard, there is primitiveness in human nature and it will try to resist and transform every civilized attempt that tries to change it. It is taken granted that a pre-planned society sees the danger beforehand; but on the contrary, it invites danger itself. High Rise reflects the theme of isolation as "being abandoned", which makes the building far away from nature as well as urban life by taking them from the ground to the inside of the buildings. The building, being "abandoned in the sky" and a shell that provides all vital necessities, has a kind of flexibility to create a pattern of behavior that nurtures insanity inside. The vandalism that occurs after a short period of "eventless" life in the building is described as such:
[i]n a strict sense, life there was 'eventless.' On the basis of his own experience, Wilder was convinced that the high-rise apartment was an insufficiently flexible shell to provide a kind of home which encouraged activities, as distinct from somewhere to eat and sleep. Living in high-rises required a special type of behavior, one that was acquiescent, restrained, even perhaps slightly mad. A psychotic would have a ball here, Wilder reflected. Vandalism had plagued these slab and tower blocks since their inception. Every torn-out piece of telephone equipment, every handle wrenched off a fire safety door, every kicked-in electricity meter represented a stand against de- cerebration. (Ballard 52)
Running Wild, which evokes Charles Manson's call to American youth to kill their parents in order to clear away the figures of authority, (7) can thus be regarded as a typical Ballardian novel in terms of looking into psychopathologies brought about by extreme orderliness and social isolation. The parents and their children in Running Wild are happy with the physical life and activities all ordered, until thirty-two parents are killed in several ways and thirteen children are abducted:
House by house, the assassins had moved swiftly-through the estate on that quiet June morning, killing the owners, their chauffeurs and servants, before abducting the thirteen children. Husbands and wives were shot down across their still-warm beds, stabbed in their shower stalls, electrocuted in their baths or crushed against their garage doors by their own cars. In a period generally agreed to be no more than twenty minutes, some thirty-two people were savagely but efficiently done to death. (Ballard 12)
These children are portrayed as very happy and successful because of the extreme importance given to them by their parents. But the psychiatrist, who, in the end, discovers that those responsible for the event are the children themselves, finds clues about the will to take internal-revenge and escape.
In addition to the theme of extreme order, boredom is another keyword that usually describes the suburbs. In fact these phrases are parallel in the sense that extreme order is one of the reasons of monotony. The novel Cocaine Nights (1996) can be put forward as one of Ballard's outstanding novels in terms of representing the theme of boredom in gated communities. It is about several crime events secretly taking place in the gated community called "Estrelle de Mar", a quiet and homogenous Spanish town inhabited by rich English people who have retired in their early thirties to dedicate themselves to sports and cultural activities. Cocaine Nights can also be studied in terms of gated communities that protect their houses through infrared security systems presented in the 1990s as utopia. Crime in Estrella de Mar is portrayed by a series of acts, starting with the murder of five people in order to avoid, in Ballard's words, "the other dead-brained town on the coast". The protagonists in the novel Cocaine Nights state that the boredom of the suburbs is dispersed by crime;
'Why were they killed? For the sake of Estrella de Mar and all that Crawford had done for us. To stop everything falling apart when he left. Without the Hollinger fire Estrella de Mar would have sunk back into itself and turned into just another brain-dead town on the coast.'
'But how does that explain all those deaths? Five people were murdered. '
... Controlling herself, she continued: 'A great crime was needed, something terrible and spectacular that would bind everyone together, seal them into a sense of guilt that would keep Estrella de Mar going for ever. It wasn't enough to remember Bobby Crawford and all the minor crimes he committed--the burglaries and drugs and sex-films.' (Ballard 298)
The novel Cocaine Nights is on "phobia of meaningless life", according to Gasiorek (2005), and the visible absolute security cannot prevent cultural isolation and death. Ballard carries this issue to the point that Bobby Crawford, one of the characters in the novel, turns the activity of crime into a performance art. In order to be regarded as an amateur sociologist, Crawford holds the view that crime and violence is necessary for social ecology, because extreme security results in social entropy. Advocating that crime is a natural part of sociality in a social system, Ballard criticizes this utopian idea of gated communities through his dystopian approach. Utopia is boring; therefore he replaces it with his future dystopia under the sovereignty of leisure time. In Cocaine Nights, crime is employed as a means of revitalizing the dull life of the suburbs,
'The formula works. He stumbled on the first and last truth about the leisure society, and perhaps all societies. Crime and creativity go together, and always have done. The greater the sense of crime, the greater the civic awareness and richer the civilization. Nothing else binds a community together. It's a strange paradox.' (Ballard 264).
Ballard displays the consequences of segregation, self-enclosure inside the gates, and the order provided by these settlements as being against human nature, and creates the dystopian city Eden Olympia in the novel Super Cannes (2001) to prove this argument. This novel reflects the obsessive security precautions taken in suburban settlements that are constructed as gated communities. The psychological situation that results because of these security precautions is the artificial psychology constructed by the dystopian city itself. The inhabitants are kept "normal" through small doses of crime activities in order to sustain this construction. The novel starts with the moving of Paul and his wife to the so-called city Eden-Olympia, which is ahypermodern capitalist French Mediterranean town. Paul, as a Ballardian character, is an ex-RAF pilot who finds himself alienated from the modern world. Eden-Olympia, described by the psychiatrist Wilder Penrose, the anti-protagonist of the story, as "a laboratory of ideas for the new millennium", is a huge high-tech park on the hills of French Riviera that serves as a home to new elites. The elements of this utopia--luxurious houses, communication systems, high-rise car parks, carefully planned green areas, playgrounds, sports centers, health centers, and innovative restaurants--are all within the boundaries of this gated community. Paul, the protagonist, soon discovers that the workaholic inhabitants of Eden-Olympia participate in crimes such as burglary, murder or fascist attacks during the few hours that they have between working and sleeping. This situation is put forward in the book cover as: "Madness in small doses at this new capitalist Eden: The only thing that will save these people is their own psychopathologies".
The dystopia in Super Cannes proposes that crime emerges as a natural result of the social order itself. People commit crime because modern life together with its physical environment is against human nature, and they overcome this problem with small doses of psychopathic activities that Ballard displays as being closer to human nature. The reason for this is to guarantee the maintenance of the social order in the future. Super Cannes prepares the reader for the emergence of these psychopathic activities, starting with Paul's sentence that "the first person I met in Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist" (Ballard, 2001: 9). At the beginning of the novel, Penrose, the psychiatrist, talks about the happiness and satisfaction of the inhabitants of the settlement while introducing the settlement to Paul
'Psychological problems? You do have them?'
'Very few.' Penrose gripped the back of Jane's seat, deliberately exposing his bitten fingernails. At the same time his face had hardened, the heavy bones of his cheeks and jaw pushing through the conversational tics and grimaces, a curious display of aggression and self-doubt. 'But a few, yes. Enough to make my job interesting. On the whole, people are happy and content.'
'And you regret that?'
'Never. I' m here to help them fulfill themselves.' (Ballard22).
At the beginning of the novel, Paul gives some clues about its plot by mentioning his intuitions concerning the phenomenon of crime in the city: "I realize now that a kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted the office buildings of the business park" (Ballard 9).
In contrast to Running Wild, or Cocaine Nights, violence in Super Cannes is not an activity that people living in that social order of which they are aware, but an activity that is imposed on them. Besides being an activity in small doses, violence creates a space for people to calm themselves: "Their own psychopathy is all that can rescue these people" (Ballard 244). In this way, violence that can threaten the social order is prevented. The activity provides the super-clever lives with insanity in small amounts:
'All this crime--why do you think it's happened?'
'I can't say. It amazes me that people here have the time and energy. They work all hours of the day, and must be exhausted when they get home. Somehow they pull themselves together and organize an armed robbery or beat up some Arabs.'
'Just for kicks?'
'No. That's the curious thing. None of them look as if they're having any fun. There's only one explanation. '
'And that is?'
'They're temporarily insane. Something about Eden-Olympia is driving them into brief fits of madness. You're the psychiatrist. You must know what's going on.' (Ballard240).
In other words, people get rid of their boredom in their abundantly normal lives by behaving psychopathically, but under their own control. Psychopathy is described as "freedom and entertainment" in Paul's words. Ballard puts the madness of Eden-Olympia not as the cause of the malaise, but the cure. As one of the characters says, "Our problem is not that too many people are insane, but too few" (Ballard 244), and "'[t]he people at Eden- Olympia aren't mad. Their problem is that they're too sane'" (Ballard 241).
In Ballard's novel Kingdom Come (2006), violence is the only freedom that modern life leaves people with, just like in Super Cannes. The difference in Kingdom Come is that violence is a conscious and purposeful activity. The novel Kingdom Come (8) takes place "in a realm of high-tech perfection, a cool, plate-glass world in which virtually every aspect of the individual's life is subject to a routine, all human needs have been anticipated, and the entire social mechanism has been calibrated to minimize friction and disturbance" (Gasioerek 20-1). The novel starts with the arrival of Richard, a London advertiser, to the suburb called Brooklands, after learning of his father's death in an assassination in which two people were killed and fifteen more were injured. The novel, which is about an ultra- modern shopping mall called the Metro Centre, described as a "zoo fit for psychopaths" (Ballard 101), shows how the phenomenon of violence can be maintained through the boredom and fascistic values intertwined with suburban life. Instead of attending church people go to the shopping mall in order to realize a catharsis.
The suburbs in Kingdom Come are described as sites of nervousness and consumption, containing the shopping malls and the consumption culture created by them as the cause of pathology. In Brooklands, one way of overcoming this boredom is to embed people's lives with the consumption culture and the element of crime. (9) Insanity, which is the only freedom left to the inhabitants of Brooklands is explained as "discretional psychopathic activity". In Ballard's discourse, although the rhythmical life of the suburb looks as if it meets all needs, it is still very boring and monotonous. That explains its inhabitants' resort to violence,
'A voluntary insanity, whatever you want to call it. As a psychiatrist I'd use the term elective psychopathy. Not the kind of madness we deal with here. I'm talking about a willed insanity, the sort that we higher primates thrive on. Watch a troupe of chimpanzees. They're bored with chewing twigs and picking the fleas out of each other's armpits. ...' (Ballard, 2006: 103)
Crime As a Result of the Class Issue
The class issue can be analyzed both in the high-rise typology and the suburbs. Low suggests that walls, gates, and guards produce a landscape that encodes class relations and (race/class/ethnic/gender) residential segregation more permanently in the built environment (2003a, 387). Newman describes high-rises as protective structures that are offered to the middle and upper class population (3), and Blakely and Synder proposes the growing divisions between city and suburb and rich and poor as creating new patterns that reinforce the costs that isolation and exclusion impose on some at the same time that they benefit others(96). They point out that the reason for this inevitable relationship between gated communities and crime is their homogeneous character that makes them brittle,
[o]ne of the most important elements in democratic societies is respect for and maintenance of heterogeneity. Communities need all age groups and lifestyles to remain viable places. Gated communities, however, tend to be homogeneous economically and by age. This lack of diversity makes the communities brittle and too easily harmed by a single trauma. A more diverse community can protect itself as each group assists the others. (98)
In High Rise, Ballard highlights a class division where the grouping in the apartment block is determined according to class status. Although the high-class tenants have the freedom of using every floor including the lower-floors, the low-class tenants cannot do the same. Thus, social groupings emerge in the apartment block. The violent activities of each of these groups in the building harm the building itself and the services in it. In addition, upper-class people deprive the lower-class people of certain services,
[w]hat angered Wilder most of all about life in the apartment building was the way in which an apparently homogeneous collection of high-income professional people had split into three distinct and hostile camps. The old social subdivisions, based on power, capital and self-interest, had reasserted themselves here as anywhere else. (Ballard52-3).
That the new social behaviors in the apartment block are transformed into social disorders and crime results from the fact that people are divided into enemy groups. These groups of people are formed because social dissolution into different levels of the building in terms of social classes has adverse effects on the psychology of people,
[a]n hour later, when Wilder stepped out into the lavishly carpeted lobby of the 37th floor, he realized that he had discovered a second building inside the one that he had originally occupied [...] During his roundabout route with her--changing to a second freight elevator to climb three floors to the 28th [floor], moving up and down a maze of corridors on the borders of hostile enclaves, until finally taking an upper-level elevator a journey of one storey-Wilder had seen the way in which the middle and upper levels of the building had organized themselves.
While his neighbours on the lower floors remained a confused rabble united only by their sense of impotence, here everyone had joined a local group of thirty adjacent apartments, informal clans spanning two or three floors based on the architecture of corridors, lobbies and elevators. There were now some twenty of these groups, each of which had formed local alliances with those on either side. There was a marked increase in vigilante activity of all kinds. Barriers were being set up, fire-doors locked, garbage thrown down the stairwells or dumped on rival landings. (Ballard 65)
The inhabitants of Pangbourne Village in Running Wild are described as upper class in between the lines through the description of the luxurious interiors of the settlement,
'Or a prison ...' Payne lit a cigarette and deliberately exhaled a coarse blue smoke at the white-on-white interior of the Millers' home. Its deep-pile white carpets, chromium and leather furniture seemed to aggravate him in some way. 'The dogs and cameras keep people out, but they also keep them in, Doctor Z!' (Ballard 31-2)
It can be proposed that the common point in all five of these novels is the fact that crime, because it is represented with its relationship with the physical qualities of the places within the novels, appears as a spatial phenomenon in addition to a social component. This dystopian construct, which is so close to our current situation that it is hard to call such writing science fiction, clarifies the balance between the physical landscape and inner landscape.
Inter-disciplinarity gains meaning when answers are found in a different discipline that another discipline cannot supply (Fuller, 2007). Reading Ballard's literature helps to develop an original point of view, revealing the over-exaggeration of crime as a consequence of such physical environments, which would almost be impossible to discover within architectural discourse itself. It is possible to talk about social consequences through architectural discourse, whereas it is only possible to encounter psychological consequences within the dystopian discourse of science fiction literature-in this case, that of Ballard.
In conclusion, this study is expected to contribute to the reproduction of the knowledge of the themes and consequences of the phenomenon of crime within architectural discourse. Through the potential of this awareness to reinforce the interaction of both disciplines-architecture and literature-it is suggested that the "knowledge" enclosed within the disciplinary frontiers of architecture can be reproduced and dispersed to a wider section of society. In terms of looking for spatial clues within literary texts in an inter-disciplinary manner, and trying to prove the affluence of socio-spatial knowledge within these texts to be systematically conveyed to the discursive realm of architecture, this study shows that such a research method is not only helpful in producing architectural knowledge, but also helpful in gaining an original point of view within discursive studies.
Zeynep Tuna Ultav received her bachelor degree in architecture from Middle East Technical University in 1999; her graduate degree in architecture is from the same university in 2002 and her PhD degree from Gazi University, Department of Architecture in 2008. She is currently the head of the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design at Yasar University. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
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(1) This term is quite often employed to describe and review Ballard's work. It is originally the name of the book, a collection of stories by Peake, Ballard and Aldiss, published in 1969.
(2) Also Richards (2007) points out the results of an investigation, which analyzes project size and building type versus crime. Accordingly he displays the crime percentage as meanly 5,4% in a building with 1000 units or less, and as meanly 7,2% in a building with more than 1000 units.
(3) It is very possible to establish a parallel between the high-rise block in High Rise and Le Corbusier's housing model, Unite d'Habitation.
(4) Carmona (2010) categorizes the results of the failure of inclusive public space into five: Neglected space, Invaded space, Exclusionary space, Segregated space and Domestic, third and virtual space. According to his categorization, gated settlements refer to "Segregated space" which he defines as result of the desire of affluent groups to separate from the rest of society reflecting a fear of crime and simply the desire to be exclusive.
(5) Murray (1983: 108) puts forward Jacobs as the most notable predecessor of Newman.
(6) High-rises can be also regarded as gated communities due to the fact that the height aspect brings isolation and self-enclosure. Newman (1973: 53) also identifies the high-rise typology as "restricted areas": "It is our hypothesis that high rise buildings, sited so that the grounds around them are defined and related to particular buildings, serve to create a territorially restricted area".
(7) Baxter (2009) mentions this similarity.
(8) Ballard's last novel can be regarded as the final book of the series of Cocaine Nights, Super Cannes, and also Millennium People, which is not analyzed within this study.
(9) At the same time, the novel claims that the activity of consumption is very close to fascism.
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|Author:||Ultav, Zeynep Tuna|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2016|
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