The rules of autogeddon : sex death and law in J G Ballard’s Crash

Thomas, Mark Nicholas Bernard (2011) The rules of autogeddon : sex death and law in J G Ballard’s Crash. Griffith Law Review, 20(2), pp. 333-361.

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It was reported that the manuscript of Crash was returned to the publisher with a note reading ‘The author is beyond psychiatric help’. Ballard took the lay diagnosis as proof of complete artistic success. Crash conflates the Freudian tropes of libido and thanatos, overlaying these onto the twentieth century erotic icon, the car. Beyond mere incompetent adolescent copulatory fumblings in the back seat of the parental sedan or the clichéd phallic locomotor of the mid-life Ferrari, Ballard engages the full potentialities of the automobile as the locus and sine qua non of a perverse, though functional erotic. ‘Autoeroticism’ is transformed into automotive, traumatic or surgical paraphilia, driving Helmut Newton’s insipid photo-essays of BDSM and orthopædics into an entirely new dimension, dancing precisely where (but more crucially, because) the ‘body is bruised to pleasure soul’.

The serendipity of quotidian accidental collisions is supplanted, in pursuit of the fetishised object, by contrived (though not simulated) recreations of iconographic celebrity deaths. Penetration remains as a guiding trope of sexuality, but it is confounded by a perversity of focus. Such an obsessive pursuit of this autoerotic-as-reality necessitates the rejection of the law of human sexual regulation, requiring the re-interpretation of what constitutes sex itself by looking beyond or through conventional sexuality into Ballard’s paraphiliac and nightmarish consensual Other. This Other allows for (if not demands) the tangled wreckage of a sportscar to function as a transformative sexual agent, creating, of woman, a being of ‘free and perverse sexuality, releasing within its dying chromium and leaking engine-parts, all the deviant possibilities of her sex’.

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ID Code: 46155
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: law and literature, psychoanalysis, posthumanity, technology
ISSN: 1038-3441
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Legal Theory Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation (180122)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2011 00:21
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2013 23:11

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