Shopping: JG Ballard - Kingdom Come

JG Ballard's last novel, Kingdom Come (2007), is centered on a shopping mall.

Note the reversal and interchangability of agency between the consumer and the commodities in the 'Metro-Centre' in this excerpt from Ballard's writing which is to be found towards the finale of the novel:

Vaguely searching for a more comfortable matress than my fever-sodden berth
in the hotel, I stood in the entrance to the store as the pilot lights shone on
the freshly waxed floor. A work party had moved through the ground level, and
the tang of polish hung on the unmoving air, making me feel almost giddy. By
sweeping out these temples to consumerism, by wiping and waxing and buffing, we
made clear that we were ready to serve these unconsecrated altars. Every shop
and store in the Metro-Centre was a house of totems. We accepted the discipline
that these appliances and bathroom fittings imposed. We wanted to be like these
consumer durables, and they in turn wanted us to emulate them. In many ways, we
wanted to be them...
(Ballard 2007, p235)

Ballard's writing brings to mind Marx's idea of the commodity fetish (1990, p163), and also Guy Debord's Society of the spectacle:

67. The satisfaction that no longer comes from using the commodities produced in abundance is now sought through recognition of
their value as commodities. Consumers are filled with religious fervour
for the sovereign freedom of commodities whose use has become an end in itself.
(Debord, p33)

Guy Debord refused to copyright his work. The complete text (in translation) is available here http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/index.htm

Debord's film, The society of the spectacle is available here http://www.ubu.com/film/debord_spectacle.html

Ballard, J.G. (2007). Kingdom Come. London: Harper Perennial
Debord, G. (No date given). Society of the spectacle. Rebel Press
Marx, K. (1990) Capital. Volume 1. London: Penguin Classics

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