Archive for February, 2013

Notes on re-reading Crash

Crash is a novel that is as much concerned with images, and the specific kinds of focalization that accompany them, as it is with car crashes. Throughout the text we are presented again and again with images. Vaughan’s room is covered with “hundreds of photographs”; Renata flicks through a copy of Paris-Match containing a photo of a “bloated corpse”; James visualises an accident “filmed in slow motion”. Not only are the characters within Crash unable to think or perceive without reference to images, the insinuation is that they are only able to act in a manner mediated by the images they have consumed. Thus we read that: “Catherine’s mock-grief was a mere stylization of a gesture – I waited for her to break into song, tap her forehead, touch every second temperature chart around the ward, switch on every fourth set of radio headphones”. In this sense, not only is the external landscape of the motorway and the airport car-park mediated and reconstructed by technology, but so are the inner lives of the characters. They are simply unable to conceive of any event without thinking of it in terms of a (mediated) image. In this regard it could be argued that the car crash is simply a metaphor for the ‘car crash’ of images that confront us in the multi-media landscape of modern life.

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