“Technology may make it possible to have a continuous feedback to ourselves of information. But at the moment I think we are starved of information. I think that the biggest need of the painter or writer today is information. I’d love to have a tickertape machine in my study constantly churning out material: abstracts from scientific journals, the latest Hollywood gossip, the passenger list of a 707 that crashed in the Andes, the colour mixes of a new automobile varnish.”
This is J.G. Ballard being prescient again in conversation with the artist Eduardo Paolozzi in 1971 (Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008). I prefer Ballard’s vision to today’s reality. He saw an endless stream of information as a feast to gorge on, fuel for his imagination and the landscape of his novels. Today the stream is two-way and, ironically, we’ve lost our way, caught in a cul-de-sac of ego. We don’t leap at the stream, thirsty to absorb it but let it wash over us as we focus instead on building a picture of ourselves in our own heads.