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Sex Drive (Mark Dery Interviews j.g. Ballard and David Cronenberg for 21.c Magazine)

Sex Drive (Mark Dery Interviews j.g. Ballard and David Cronenberg for 21.c Magazine)

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Published by markdery
Cultural critic Mark Dery interviews British sci-fi visionary J.G. Ballard and Canadian director David Cronenberg for the Australian magazine 21.C, on the occasion of the release of Cronenberg's movie of the Ballard novel CRASH.
Cultural critic Mark Dery interviews British sci-fi visionary J.G. Ballard and Canadian director David Cronenberg for the Australian magazine 21.C, on the occasion of the release of Cronenberg's movie of the Ballard novel CRASH.

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Published by: markdery on Feb 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/10/2014

 
~
~-~
ebyDavid
Cronenberg,
starringJamesSpader,
Holly
Hunter
don,
Crash
wasaninstant
causecelebre.
Inmythicte~ins,thecarcrash-memorablydefinedinJacobKulowski's
CrashInjuries:TheIntegratedMedicalAspectsofAutomobileInjuriesandDeaths
as"aneHtremelycomplicatedphenomenonofauerybriefdurationendingindestruction"
-
isatonceaprecognitiuedreamofourfusionwithourmachinesandaritualizedenactmentofthemomentwhenwelosecontrolofthem.
.
InJ,G,Ballard's
Crash,
aproto-cyberpunknovelpartlyinspiredby
CrashInjuries,
andnowtranslatedtothescreenbyDavidCronenberg,
the
car-
crashattainsanightmaresublimity_Inthedetached,exactlanguageoftheforensicpathologistandtheengineer,Ballardshadowsforth"anewsexualitybornfromaperversetechnology":"Inhisvisionofacar.crashwiththeactress,Vaughanwasobsessedbymanywoundsandimpacts-bythedyingchromiumandcollapsingbulkheadsoftheirtwocarsmeetinghead-on...bythecompactfracturesoftheirthighsimpactedagainsttheirhandbrakemountings,andaboveallbythewoundstotheirgenitalia,heruteruspiercedbytheheraldicbeakofthemanufacturer'smedal.lion,hissemenemptyingacrosstheluminescentdialsthatregisteredforeverthelasttemperatureandfuellevelsoftheengine."Violentandpassionless,beyondegopsychologyorsocialmores,itisaposthumansexuality"withoutreferentialityandwithoutlimits,"asJean
Baudrillardputsitinhisessayon
Crash.
Alienatedfromabodythatseems,moreandmore,likeapre.industrialartifact,thisnewsexuality
fetishizesurbandesolation,televiseddisasters,celebritiesandcommodities(aboveall,theautomobile).
In
Crash,
sexhappensalmostentirelyincars:removedfromthatcontext,itlosesitsappeal.Thebodyiseroticonlywhenitintersectswithtech-
nologyorthebuiltenvironment,eitherliterally(puncturedbydoorhandles,impaledonsteeringcolumns)orfiguratively("Theuntouched,rectilinearvolumesofthisbuildingfusedinmymindwiththecontoursofhercalvesandthighspressedagainstthevinylseating").Ayoungwoman'sbodybearstestimonytoasevereautomobileaccident;-tothenarrator,whowashimselfinjuredinanaccidentthatimprintedhiscar'sinstrumentationonhiskneesandshins,shehasbeenreborn:"Thecrushedbodyofthesportscarhadturnedherintoacreatureoffreeandper.versesexuality,releasingwithinitstwistedbulkheadsandleakingenginecoolantallthedeviantpossibilitiesofhersex.Hercrippledthighsandwastedcalfmusclesweremodelsforfascinatingperversities."
Here,asinfilmssuchas
2001:
A
Space
Odyssey
and
B/adeRunner.
humansaredispassionatemannequinswhilethetechnologyaroundthemis
disconcertinglyanthropomorphic:The"grotesqueoverhangofaninstrumentpanelforcedontoadriver'scrotch"inanaccidentconjuresa"cali.bratedactofmachinefellatio,"whilethe"elegantaluminizedair.vents"inahospital"beckonasinvitinglyasthewarmestorganicorifice."lnthedepravedgeometryof
Crash,
semenandenginecoolant,crotchesandchromiuminstrumentheadsarecongruent."Ibelievethatorganicsex,bodyagainstbody,skinareaagainstskinarea,isbecomingnolongerpossible,"saidBallard,ina1970interview,"sim.plybecauseifanythingistohaveanymeaningforusitmusttakeplaceintermsofthevaluesandexperiencesofthemedialandscape."
Publishedin1973,
Crash
refractswhatMarshallMcLuhancalled"thewidelyoccurringclusterimageofsex,technologyanddeath"throughthe
splinteredlensofconsumerculture,withitsflattenedaffect,celebrityworship,obsessivedocumentationofeverylivedmoment,andpsychoticconfusionofsubjectiveexperienceandfilmicfictions.Improvisingonthesethemeswithagleefulviciousnessthatisequalpartssurrealism,Popartandpunk,Ballardportendstheirconvergenceintheterminalrealitywenowinhabit.
'Ii!iiI21.C41

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