J.G. Ballard and empty swimming pools
Reading Ballard lately, I am always struck by his fascination with empty swimming pools. See for example in "Notes Towards A Mental Breakdown" (1967):
"Usually accompanied by Leonora Carrington, he visited the Mullard radio-observatory near Cambridge and the huge complex of early warning radar installations on the Suffolk coast. For some reason, empty swimming pools and multi-storey car parks exerted a particular fascination. All these he seems to have approached as the constituents of a mental breakdown which he might choose to recruit at a later date."
And much later in "Super Cannes":
"Ten thousand years in the future, long after the Côte d'Azur had been abandoned, the first explorers would puzzle over these empty pits, with their eroded frescoes of tritons and stylized fish, inexplicably hauled up the mountainsides like aquatic sundials or the altars of a bizarre religion devised by a race of visionary geometers."
Why do I blog this? this is related to some current train of thoughts about representations of the future.
Well, maybe it's not important at all, and spotting 2 references to empty swimming pool may seen weird. However, in the context of J.G Ballard's work, it makes sense and I find intriguing this sort of recurring representation of the future.
Why is that so? First because it may represent the future of a distopyan future one would fear. Second because an empty swimming pool is no longer used by humans, as if that facility was left for other inhabitants. What remains is the empty infrastructure, with its shape and emptiness. I am personally more interested in this second issue and what it tells about infrastructures.