4. Ballard’s use of the word “chronograms” is another oddity. Merriam-Webster defines a chronogram as an inscription, sentence or phrase in which certain letters express a date or epoch. The multiple-exposure studies of movement taken by Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) are called chronophotographs. In a section of The Atrocity Exhibition titled “Marey’s Chronograms,” a few pages after the list of terminal documents, a character called Dr. Nathan refers to the Marey images assembled by Travis, noting that “the walking figure, for example, is represented as a series of dune-like lumps.” This is the picture shown here: a man in a black outfit marked with a white strip walks along next to a black wall, 1883.
J. G. Ballard, The Art of Fiction No. 85
"Presumably all obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born."
"Sometimes I think that all my writing is nothing more than the compensatory work of a frustrated painter."
"Well, before starting Crash, for example, in 1969, I staged an exhibition of crashed cars at the New Arts Laboratory in London—three crashed cars in a formal gallery ambience. The centerpiece was a crashed Pontiac from the last great tail-fin period. The whole exhibition illustrated a scene from my previous book, Atrocity Exhibition,* where my Travis hero stages a similarly despairing exhibition. What I was doing was testing my own hypotheses about the ambiguities that surround the car crash, ambiguities that are at the heart of the book. I hired a topless girl to interview people on closed-circuit tv. The violent and overexcited reaction of the guests at the opening party was a deliberate imaginative overload which I imposed upon them in order to test my own obsession. The subsequent damage inflicted on the cars during the month of the show—people splashed them with paint, tore off the wing mirrors—and at the opening party, where the topless girl was almost raped in the rear seat of the Pontiac (a scene straight from Crash itself), convinced me I should write Crash. The girl later wrote a damningly hostile review of the show in an underground paper."
"The young people of Western Europe since the sixties have grown up in a remarkably uniform environment, both in terms of the postwar architecture of high-rises and motorways and shopping malls, and also in terms of fashion in clothes and pop music, beach holidays in Spain and Greece, and their attitudes to society as a whole and their place in it—to the place of Europe between the two superpowers (both of whom, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., are tolerated but not trusted). I think for the first time in Western Europe, one sees a generation which finds itself living in sane, just, and largely humane societies—the welfare-state social democracies west of the Iron Curtain—and is deeply suspicious of them, while in fact sharing all the values for which those societies stand. Young people who take for granted that the state will provide free university education, free medical treatment, and prosperous consumer-goods economies, but who nonetheless seem to suspect that behind all this lies some unseen conspiracy. "
"perhaps psychopathology should be kept alive as a repository, probably the last repository, of the imagination. "