“Metallized Elysium”

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  • Title: “Metallized Elysium”: Technology, Perversion, and the Posthuman in J. G. Ballard’s Crash
  • Author(s): Min-kyoung Kim
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Technology, Perversion, Posthuman, Consumer Society
  • Volume: 16
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v16i04/29-43
  • Citation: Kim, Min-kyoung . 2018. "“Metallized Elysium”: Technology, Perversion, and the Posthuman in J. G. Ballard’s Crash." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 16 (4): 29-43. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v16i04/29-43.
  • Extent: 15 pages

Abstract

In “Crash,” J. G. Ballard explores the violence and sexual perversion that technological development could lead to in the distant future. In this novel, Ballard envisions the end of technological advances and the emergence of the posthuman in a consumer culture from a post-apocalyptic viewpoint. The author demonstrates the disastrous effects that technology might have on human beings in the future consumer society, expressing this circumstance as the marriage of sex and technology. Sex and cars are employed as metaphors in “Crash”; that is, sex in this novel connotes the whole organic expression of our personalities in terms of our bodies, whereas cars symbolize technology. Moreover, cars are not only a sexual object but also a medium of violence; when a car crashes, it causes the main character, Dr. Vaughan, to have death instincts. Dr. Vaughan is badly injured in a motorbike accident, a traumatic event that leaves scars on his face and in his memory. From that point, he repeatedly causes car accidents, targeted at women. The interrelationships between the future consumer society, “perverse technology,” and the posthuman in “Crash” have rarely been discussed, though these are the focus of the novel. In this regard, it can be argued that “Crash” portrays technology and perversion in techno-consumer society linked to the advent of the posthuman. Drawing upon Freud’s theory of sexual perversion, this article will explore how the perversion and technology of contemporary consumer society is presented in “Crash.”