Chisenhale Residency, 2010/2011 website:thisdisaster.posterous.com
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The Writing of Disaster
Extract 1 :
J.G.Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
(Annotated) Flamingo Modern Classics - Harper Perennial, 2006
(extracts taken from early in the „novel‟
- more specific references available on request)
The helicopter banked abruptly, pulled round in a gesture of impatience by the pilot. Theyplunged towards the underpass, the huge fans of the Sikorsky sliding through the air like thewings of a crippled archangel. A multiple collision had occurred in the approach to the underpass.After the police had left they walked for an hour among the cars, staring through the steam at thebodies propped against the fractured windshields. Here he would find his alternate death, themimetized disasters of Vietnam and the Congo recapitulated in the contours of these brokenfenders and radiator assemblies. As they circled overhead the shells of the vehicles lay in the dusk like the crushed wings of an aerial armada.
notes on) Mimetized Disasters.
Most of the machines that surround our lives - airliners, refrigerators, cars and typewriters - have streamlined their way into our affections. Now and then, as in the caseof the helicopter, with its unstable, insect-like obsessiveness, we can see clearly the deephostility of the mineral world. We are lucky that the organic realm reached the foot of theevolutionary ladder before the inorganic.
A Cosmetic Problem.
The star of the show was JFK, victim of the first conceptual car crash. A damaged Lincoln hadbeen given the place of honour, plastic models of the late President and his wife in the rear seat.An elaborate attempt had been made to represent cosmetically the expressed brain tissue of thePresident. As she touched the white acrylic smears across the trunk Koester swung himself
aggressively out of the driver‟s seat. While he lit her cigarette she leaned against the fender of awhite Pontiac, their thighs almost touching. Koester took her arm with a nervous gesture. „Ah, Dr Austin . . . ‟ The flow of small talk modulated their sexual encounter. „ . . . surely Christ‟s
crucifixion could be regarded as the first traffic accident -
certainly if we accept Jarry‟s happy
piece of anti-
clericalism . . . ‟
The Transition Area.
As Trabert prepared for his departure, the elements of apocalyptic landscapes waited on thehorizons of his mind, helicopters burning among broken gantries. With deliberate caution, he