ramoneando

James Ballard

Science and technology multiple around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute.


We had entered an immense traffic jam. [...] The passengers at the windows resembled rows of the dead looking down at us from the galleries of a columbarium. The enormous energy of the twentieth century, enough to drive the planet into a new orbit around a happier star, was being expended to maintain this immense motionless pause.


I think the key image of the 20th century is the man in the motor car. It sums up everything: the elements of speed, drama, aggression, the junction of advertising and consumer goods with the technological landscape. The sense of violence and desire, power and energy; the shared experience of moving together through an elaborately signalled landscape. We spend a substantial part of our lives in the motor car, and the experience of driving condenses many of the experiences of being a human being in the 1970s, the marriage of the physical aspects of ourselves with the imaginative and technological aspects of our lives. I think the 20th century reaches its highest expression on the highway. Everything is there: the speed and violence of our age; the strange love affair with the machine, with its own death.