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The Atrocity Exhibition The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard
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The Atrocity Exhibition Quotes Showing 1-30 of 34
“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.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“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.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Science is the ultimate pornography, analytic activity whose main aim is to isolate objects or events from their contexts in time and space. This obsession with the specific activity of quantified functions is what science shares with pornography.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“In the post-Warhol era a single gesture such as uncrossing one's legs will have more significance than all the pages in War and Peace.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The media landscape of the present day is a map in search of a territory. A huge volume of sensational and often toxic imagery inundates our minds, much of it fictional in content. How do we make sense of this ceaseless flow of advertising and publicity, news and entertainment, where presidential campaigns and moon voyages are presented in terms indistinguishable from the launch of a new candy bar or deodorant? What actually happens on the level of our unconscious minds when, within minutes on the same TV screen, a prime minister is assassinated, an actress makes love, an injured child is carried from a car crash? Faced with these charged events, prepackaged emotions already in place, we can only stitch together a set of emergency scenarios, just as our sleeping minds extemporize a narrative from the unrelated memories that veer through the cortical night. In the waking dream that now constitutes everyday reality, images of a blood-spattered widow, the chromium trim of a limousine windshield, the stylised glamour of a motorcade, fuse together to provide a secondary narrative with very different meanings.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“A kind of banalization of celebrity has occurred: we are now offered an instant, ready-to-mix fame as nutritious as packet soup.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Massive cerebral damage and abdominal bleeding in automobile accidents could be imitated within half an hour, aided by the application of suitable coloured resins. Convincing radiation burns required careful preparation, and might involve some three to four hours of makeup. Death, by contrast, was a matter of lying prone.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Sex is now a conceptual act, it's probably only in terms of the perversions that we can make contact with each other at all.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“He walked into the bathroom, wincing at himself in the mirror, that always more tired older brother.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
tags: age, aging
“The endless newsreel clips of nuclear explosions that we saw on TV in the 1960s (were) a powerful incitement to the psychotic imagination, sanctioning *everything*.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Deep assignments run through all our lives; there are no coincidences.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Travers’s problem is how to come to terms with the violence that has pursued his life - not merely the violence of accident and bereavement, or the horrors of war, but the biomorphic horrors of our own bodies. Travers has at last realized that the real significance of these acts of violence lies elsewhere, in what we might term “the death of affect”. Consider our most real and tender pleasures - in the excitements of pain and mutilation; in sex as the perfect arena, like a culture-bed of sterile pus, for all the veronicas of our own perversions, in voyeurism and self-disgust, in our moral freedom to pursue our own psychopathologies as a game, and in our ever greater powers of abstraction. What our children have to fear are not the cars on the freeways of tomorrow, but our own pleasure in calculating the most elegant parameters of their deaths. The only way we can make contact with each other is in terms of conceptualizations. Violence is the conceptualization of pain. By the same token psychopathology is the conceptual system of sex.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Their violence (the jungle wars of the '70s), and all violence for that matter, reflects the neutral exploration of sensation that is taking place, within sex as elsewhere and the sense that the perversions are valuable precisely because they provide a readily accessible anthology of exploratory techniques.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The ambiguous role of the car crash needs no elaboration—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.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“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.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Of course, from one point of view the unhappy events of our own century might be regarded as, say, demonstration ballets on the theme 'Hydrocarbon Synthesis' with strong audience participation.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“She had originally agreed to appear naked, but on seeing the cars informed me that she would only appear topless—an interesting logic was at work there.”
James Graham Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“A visit to Père Lachaise in Paris adds a year to one's life”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“...the look of a man who had made the devil's bargain and knew he had lost.”
J. G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Beyond the silver span of the motor bridge lay basins of cracked mud the size of ballrooms - models of a state of mind, a curvilinear labyrinth.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“In his mind World War III represents the final self-destruction and imbalance of an asymmetric world, the last suicidal spasm of the dextro-rotatory helix, DNA. The human organism is an atrocity exhibition at which he is an unwilling spectator . . .”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“At the logic of fashion, such once-popular perversions as pedophilia and sodomy will become derided cliches, as amusing as pottery ducks on suburban walls.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“There is a British pop group called God. At a recent book signing the lead singer introduced himself and gave me a cassette. I have heard the voice of God.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“...reason rationalizes reality for him (Dr. Nathan) as it does for the rest of us, in the Freudian sense of providing a more palatable or convenient explanation, and there are so many subjects about which we should not be reasonable.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The core identity is Traven, a name taken consciously from B. Traven, a writer I've always admired for his extreme reclusiveness—so completely at odds with the logic of our own age, when even the concept of privacy is constructed from publicly circulating materials. It is now almost impossible to be ourselves except on the world's terms.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Their period in the apartment together had been one of almost narcotic domesticity.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“Perhaps space travel is forever doomed because it inevitably recapitulates primitive stages in the growth of our nervous systems, before the development of our sense of balance and upright posture—a forced return to infantile dependency.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The sex act is emotionally the richest and the most imaginatively charged event in our lives, comparable only to the embrace of our children as a source of affection and mystery. But no kinaesthetic language has yet been devised to describe it in detail, and without one we are in the position of an unqualified observer viewing an operation for brain surgery. Ballet, gymnastics, American football and judo are furnished with elaborate kinaesthetic languages, but it's still easier to describe the tango or the cockpit take-off procedures for a 747 than to recount in detail an act of love.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The post-Reagan vacuum is doubly curious because Reagan was himself a vacuum (or seems so to this European outsider), an empty stage-set of a personality across which moved cut-out cartoon figures, dragon ladies or demons of the evil empire, manipulated by others far more ambitious than himself. Many people have commented on his complete lack of ideas and his blurring of fiction and reality in his stumbling recall of old movies. But Reagan's real threat is the compelling example he offers to future film actors and media manipulators with presidential ambitions, all too clearly defined ideas and every intention of producing a thousand-year movie out of them.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
“The test of language is how well it can be translated into other tongues, and sex is the most negotiable language of all.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition

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