Friday, 26 July 2013

just what is it...

...a convincing vision of the future that lay ahead - the muscleman husband and his stripper wife in their suburban home, the consumer goods, such as the tin of ham, regarded as ornaments in their own right ... we are what we sell and buy.

ballard / miracles of life / this is tomorrow 1956

war machine and christy mack


A Psychopathic Hymn:

J.G. Ballard's 'Crashed Cars' Exhibition of 1970

Passings – J. G. Ballard: Philosopher of the Future Present

Jim Haynes / Arts Lab

Re: They're four hundred feet high
Posted by: "stwrtmckenzie"
Date: Sun Jul 30, 2006

Not one of the people, the person.  I put it together with people from the Human Family, an English version of the Living Theater, working out of the Arts Laboratory under the exuberant patronage of Nigel Samuel, and students from one of the London theater colleges who provided actors and early multi-media technicians. We put on a demo at the ICA and Ballard came to see it, he loved it and invited me to join him in a video about the sexuality of car crashes which, I confess, sounded unappealing.  It was performed at the ICA for about a week with the title "The Assassination Weapon, A Transmedia Search for Reality" some time in 1968 or 1969.  It was performed a couple of times after that at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture and The Architectural Association.  The show took Ballard's text from The Assassination Weapon with early analog electronic distortion and music, and played this back in surround streo around a vertical circular screen, about ten feet in diameter, which revolved slowly at the center of circles of concentric seats separated by four access corridors at the four cardinal points.  The fire marshal required that the seats be fixed and I spent four days stapling chairs to a perfect hardwood floor, to the horror of my ICA minder.  Once the audience was seated, the recording of The Assassination Weapon was played back and four projection tables shooting down the access corridors combined images on the revolving screen which could take front and back projection.  I asked Jack Henry Moore, then the director of the Human Family, for a recommendation for the material for this screen, he recommended bed linen soaked in Parrafin (a flamable liquid), he said it took back projection beautifully.  I decided that, after the trouble with the chairs, I would not go to the mat with the fire marshal on this one, it was a white plastic.  The projection tables had a variety of image and light emitting parephanalia, still and movie projectors, boiling liquids (this was the sixties), rotating color filters. strobes, smoke machines, etc.  There was an image script but some room for improvisation to exploit happy coincidences on the screen which could become quite complex since, in addition to the front and back projection, the sides of screen segments (it was made up of six pizza slices bolted together) caught projections as the screen rotated, introducing lines of color and fragments of images into the main projection.  The English humor magazine "Punch" found it "Puzzling", the English manners magazine "The Lady" found it "Trying".  We played to full houses at every performance.  London was fun back then.

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