Jean Baudrillard, in Simulacra and Simulation, says, "From
a classical (even cybernetic) perspective, technology is an extension of
the body....In this 'rational' perspective the body itself is nothing but
a medium (111)." Baudrilliard goes on to discuss machines as "relays,
extensions, media mediators of nature ideally destined to become the organic
body of man." This brings us to Crash, a hallucinatory novel
by J.G. Ballard. The novel tells of Vaughan, a "TV scientist"
turned "nightmare angel of the highways": a man who has discovered
a new world, one where car crashes and eroticism are intricately interwoven.
The novel follows the life the narrator, James,
a television commercial producer, who slowly discover's of Vaughan's world.
For Vaughan, wounds resulting from car crashes are the keys to a new sexuality
born from a "perverse technology" (13). To him, the modern world
gives rise to modes of pleasure that were previously unthinkable. What
are Ballard's intentions for such a striking concept--the idea that technology
and eroticism are so intimately related? One may think Crash is
mere perversion, but further investigation reveals something far more profound:
the idea that it is the inherent nature of technology to simulate. Crash
is merely a hyperreal exposÈ of this concept.