J. G. Ballard Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 85 quotes)
The ambiguous role of the car crash needs no elaboratio?apart from our own deaths, the car crash is probably the most dramatic event in our lives, and in many cases the two will coincide. Aside from the fact that we generally own or are at the controls of the crashing vehicle, the car crash differs from other disasters in that it involves the most powerfully advertised commercial product of this century, an iconic entity that combines the elements of speed, power, dream and freedom within a highly stylized format that defuses any fears we may have of the inherent dangers of these violent and unstable machines.
Strangman shrugged theatrically. "It might," he repeated with great emphasis. "Let's admit that. It makes it more interesting—particularly for Kerans. 'Did I or did I not try to kill myself?' One of the few existential absolutes, far more significant than 'To be or not to be?', which merely underlines the uncertainty of the suicide, rather than the eternal ambivalence of his victim." He smiled down patronisingly at Kerans as the latter sat quietly in his chair, sipping at the drink Beatrice had brought him. "Kerans, I envy you the task of finding out—if you can.
The relationship between the famous and the public who sustain them is governed by a striking paradox. Infinitely remote, the great stars of politics, film and entertainment move across an electric terrain of limousines, bodygurads and private helicopters. At the same time, the zoom lens and the interview camera bring them so near to us that we know their faces and their smallest gestures more intimately than those of our friends. Somewhere in this paradoxical space our imaginations are free to range, and we find ourselves experimenting like impresarios with all the possibilities that these magnified figures seem to offer us.
Deserts possess a particular magic, since they have exhausted their own futures, and are thus free of time. Anything erected there, a city, a pyramid, a motel, stands outside time. It's no coincidence that religious leaders emerge from the desert. Modern shopping malls have much the same function. A future Rimbaud, Van Gogh or Adolf Hitler will emerge from their timeless wastes.
Dr. Ransome marked the exercises in the algebra textbook and gave him two strips of rice-paper bandage on which to solve the simultaneous equations. As he stood up, Dr. Ransome removed the three tomatoes from Jim's pocket. He laid them on the table by the wax tray. 'Did they come from the hospital garden?' 'Yes.' Jim gazed back frankly at Dr. Ransome. Recently he had begun to see him with a more adult eye. The long years of imprisonment, the constant disputes with the Japanese had made this young physician seem middle-aged. Dr. Ransome was often unsure of himself, as he was of Jim's theft. 'I have to give Basie something whenever I see him.' 'I know. It's a good thing that you're friends with Basie. He's a survivor, though survivors can be dangerous. Wars exist for people like Basie.' Dr. Ransome placed the tomatoes in Jim's hand. 'I want you to eat them, Jim. I'll get you something for Basie.
Trying to exhaust himself, Vaughan devised an endless almanac of terrifying wounds and insane collisions: The lungs of elderly men punctured by door-handles; the chests of young women impaled on steering-columns; the cheek of handsome youths torn on the chromium latches of quarter-lights. To Vaughan, these wounds formed the key to a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology. The images of these wounds hung in the gallery of his mind, like exhibits in the museum of a slaughterhouse.
Readers will recall that the little evidence collected seemed to point to the strange and confusing figure of an unidentified Air Force pilot whose body was washed ashore on a beach near Dieppe three months later. Other traces of his ‘mortal remains’ were found in a number of unexpected places: in a footnote to a paper on some unusual aspects of schizophrenia published thirty years earlier in a since defunct psychiatric journal; in the pilot for an unpurchased TV thriller, ‘Lieutenant 70’; and on the record labels of a pop singer known as The Him — to instance only a few. Whether in fact this man was a returning astronaut suffering from amnesia, the figment of an ill-organized advertising campaign, or, as some have suggested, the second coming of Christ, is anyone’s guess.
All over the world major museums have bowed to the influence of Disney and become theme parks in their own right. The past, whether Renaissance Italy or Ancient Egypt, is re-assimilated and homogenized into its most digestible form. Desperate for the new, but disappointed with anything but the familiar, we recolonize past and future. The same trend can be seen in personal relationships, in the way people are expected to package themselves, their emotions and sexuality, in attractive and instantly appealing forms.
A car crash harnesses elements of eroticism, aggression, desire, speed, drama, kinesthetic factors, the stylizing of motion, consumer goods, status -- all these in one event. I myself see the car crash as a tremendous sexual event really: a liberation of human and machine libido (if there is such a thing).