January 3 2021

We’re going to talk about sex and death here, it's the end of 2020 what else can we do?

"...these wounds formed the key to a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology"

watch the teaser | watch in full

As the year from hell draws to a close we're releasing our homage to JG Ballard's controversial text from 1973, Crash. Much like a car crash, this year has been, in many ways, an atrocity exhibition that we couldn’t look away from. Drawing our gaze closer and closer watching every horror unfold in shimmering pixels on our screens, every second, every minute distorted to stretching out endlessly repeated over days upon days spent inside.

Ballard believed the car crash to be the defining trauma of the 20th century, almost predetermined by our obsession with endlessly expanding our industrial and technological landscape. He saw the car as “the most powerful symbol of our civilisation” and when twisted, deformed and buckled on impact he was fascinated by the “distorted geometry of this immensely stylised object.” Body of car and body of person lock together.

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Ballard claims that although the very prescient horror of the car crash surrounds us we cannot be truly afraid of it because otherwise we would fear driving. It draws us in regardless.

For Ballard, looking at a crashed car is to see the shape of our own death, where our bodies fit perfectly inside and on impact are to be punctured, broken and merged with the dashboard, the wheel, we become at one with the mechanics.

Sex is also often about a merging - augmenting your own body with another’s, pushing, slamming, piercing, being opened, being penetrated. Intense bodily vulnerability. Sex and death have always been intertwined, some of our most potent sexual impulses are born from the fear of our own fragile mortality. Pain and pleasure heightened by the tension pulling at our own survival instinct. 

“Violence and desire. Power and energy”

In Cronenberg’s film based on Ballard’s book, he transplants the story from an English motorway to an 1990’s America highway, the car as the symbol of the blossoming and by then crumbling of the great capitalist American dream. 

To get into the mess and fuck in the wreckage. 

To give over to pure physical sensation and stare into the void of atrocity, oblivion. The body as machine, of both powerful possibility and freedom and impotent, crumpled failure. 

This all seems all the more prescient now in the 21 century a new machine, a new void, a new technology has toppled the car as our object of worship and obsession. Screens and devices sucking us in, becoming our bodies, our identities, our portals. 

"Crash is an existential book about how everybody uses everything. How everything uses everybody. And yet it is not a hopeless vision." Zadie Smith on Crash

“In the twentieth century terms, the crucifixion for example would be reenacted as a conceptual auto disaster” -  JG Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition


My very favourite bit of sourcing this shoot was getting to listen live to the satisfying crunch of the scrapyard guys driving the car into a wall to crush it because they didn't realise they'd not put the phone down with me still listening on the end. They asked me what I was using it for and I said .... "a fashion film"

I’ve loved Crow and Velvet together from a far for months and was so excited to get the opportunity to work with them as talented creators in their own right, they really got every aspect of what we wanted and let us make them our covid shooting test subjects by agreeing to shoot mostly outside at the beginning of autumn on a wet and rainy evening with us talking and shooting through our masks. Such incredible troopers we made something really special. You can find their work together here.

We came back together with Gus from Boy Harsher to score this 80s metallised driving dreamscape, as soon as I conceived this project I knew it needed some Gus magic and he delivered ten fold. At least if I can't be in a dark sweaty club dancing to his music I can put it in my porn as a close second. I know it’s been a rough year especially for touring musicians and artists and they deserve all the support you can give right now. 

We were so lucky to squeeze this shoot in between lock downs and get to meet and make connections in a year that’s felt so untethered and isolating. It’s been truly hard to make anything and feel the pulse of inspiration from the endless cycling structure of living the same “day” again and again inside. Getting to make this film felt like a bolt of energy and creative inspiration in a grey year.

The end of our year ended in some pretty horrible tragedy which is why this release has been slightly delayed and why saying Happy New Year sticks in my throat a bit. It feels impossible acknowledge that this has been the case for a lot of people. The power of creating and community and sex and art and just living are what we have to get us through and keep us going. On we go.

See you in 2021, enjoy and thank you for everything.

original score by Augustus Muller

Towards Crash (1971) BBC
Crash (1996) David Cronenberg
Crash (1973) J.G Ballard
The Atrocity Exhibition, J.G Ballard

stock footage of car crashes with crash test dummies, smoking, scars