Posts Tagged ‘ Crash ’

Grace Jones and the empty “intellectualism” of Pitchfork contributors

An otherwise entertaining article on queer identity and Grace Jones spoiled by the interjections of various brats at the bottom. In particular, the string of empty signifiers that make up Eric Shorey’s take on Jones’s version of Warm Leatherette is typical of the sort of empty, self-entitled, faux-intellectualism that Pitchfork loves to indulge in:

“In Jones’ hands, the song becomes a sassy tribute to the pleasures of ultraviolence, queering the original text from a self-serious and mega-ironic love poem into a campy exploration of black female sexual identity. By subverting the tropes of white, male, anglo sci-fi, Jones turned the Ballardian porno-nightmare into a celebration of perversion via the intersection of technology and sexuality”

How? Why? the reader is left asking. Oh, I see, because you say so…

Indeed, more than anything, the reader comes away with the impression that the writer seems not to have read, or has failed to understand, Ballard’s source novel.


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.