CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE! (Two Shorts, Fat & Thin)

You may recognize the parenthetical as a play on Chapter 4 from Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optimism. That chapter is titled, “Two Girls, Fat and Thin,” and my allusion wants to explain the difficult choice* I’ve made regarding which performance to share as part of this panel today.

* (including actual choices by way of emotional eating and drinking, thus, choices regarding “modes of enfleshment” (Berlant, 128).)

If you haven’t read Cruel Optimism, I’ll overview by borrowing from E. Cram: “Cruel Optimism turns its attention to scenes of everyday life and traces affective modes of adjustment and attenuation as a way of coping with the radical contingency of neoliberal crisis in hopes of creating new modes of habit or relation to the world” (Cram). You can learn more about my capacious engagement with Berlant’s work in my book, Cruel Auteurism: Affective Digital Mediations Toward Film-Composition.

I’ve created this page in order for you to learn a bit more about both clips, should you care to immerse yourself beyond what time allows today. Please email bonnie.kyburz@gmail.com if you have questions about either clip. Thanks for indulging my performance-rhetorics!

I created the first short in a day, 3 weeks ago. It was a very windy day, and I was full of anxiety over baseline life concerns. I decided to recognize the worry as impasse and take Berlant’s advice: “Berlant makes sense of the present through the ‘impasse,’ or what rhetorical critics would point to as a moment of radical contingency in which one must manage by engaging in creative activity (4)” (Cram). I took my mic and recorded the wind. Then, I recorded the voiceover. And then I selected audio that might offer commentary and critique even as I sought to transcend the notion of myself as a “lost cause” by composing for a prestigious national conference (transformative remix WIN!). Because of how effortlessly “the moment” seems to unfold in this version, it may be that this is “thin.” However, I choose it (a history of body dysmorphia and cultural conditioning will always have me choosing “thin.”). As well, the piece seems to resonate more efficiently with the intentions I set forth in my proposal and with the tone of the panel. I hope you agree.

I toyed with “bardoting” (the shorthand title I assigned), and then I decided to turn my attention the orchestration of a Pecha Kucha in my Rhetoric of Prose Composition class. It would be, a.) Fun, b.) Instructive, c.) Kairotic, d.) Immersive, and e.) Pedagogically powerful as a form of affectively-intense, active pedagogy. And it was. I love a good Pecha Kucha experience! I have much to say about it, but in the interest of time, I’ll leave it to you to watch the short if you desire and when you will.