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Niall Gallen

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Mapping a New Mythos: Accelerationism, Affect, and the Complexity of Capitalism

Throughout my PhD project, I am reconsidering Eduardo Paolozzi’s artwork in line with contemporary theories of accelerationism, introducing a new methodological approach that moves beyond conventional postmodern analysis. My work will also reconsider the accelerationist responses to capitalism and modern technology in the 1990s within the wider context of 20th Century art history. I will argue that a contemporary accelerationism is entangled with themes present within modernist art, bringing the early 20th Century into a continued dialogue with the early 21st.

I am currently exploring how Paolozzi responds to the incomprehensible qualities of modern technologies, particularly in-line with the rise of mass-communications, advertising, consumerism and the then approaching techno-world of computing. Currently, I am investigating Paolozzi’s 60s-70s screen-prints, his involvement with the Independent Group, and relation to author J.G. Ballard. I am also researching the wider context of Paolozzi’s 60-70s work, to demonstrate how his response to a post-war austerity has resonance with reactions to the socio-economic conditions of the present. I am doing this in the hope that Paolozzi’s reaction to what he termed ‘the sublime of the everyday life’, and its ‘schizophrenic quality’ in the Western world, can be reconsidered as both a launchpad for ‘new science-fictional practices’ that escape both the literary form and the present condition of contemporary capitalism.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature

Public Engagement & Impact

'Accelerationism and Eduardo Paolozzi', Public Exhibition 'Tour & Talk', University of Birmingham, 25/03/19

Other Research Interests

The Writings of J.G. Ballard, Responses to Technology, Sociological Criticisms of Technology, Digital Cultures, Modernism (Futurism, Surrealism & Dada), Theory-Fiction, Literature and Science, 20th & 21st Century Literature, Continental Philosophy, and Contemporary Literary Theory, Video Game Studies and Criticism.

Other Projects/Groups

Writer and Committee Member for Forthcoming Research Network Research/Curate.

Co-founder and Co-organiser of the Contemporary Theory Reading Group at the University of Birmingham.

Supporting Administrator for the Critical Posthumanism Seminar Series and Research Network.