A musical rendering of the philosophies of psychoanalyst and theorist Julia Kristeva. Composed & performed by Mark Fullmer http://markfullmer.com
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The Dancing Floor Sarah J. Arroyo and Bahareh Alaei California State University Long Beach
Presented at the MLA Convention in Seattle in January 2012.
This installation features the ancient concept of "chora" and connects it to practices located in the culture inspired by online video sharing. We riff on chora's pre-Platonic connection to both a "dance" and a "dancing floor."
From Stasis to Chora
The first section introduces choric invention by turning to Roland Barthes's famous explication of the "punctum of recognition" one feels when looking at certain photographs. We transfer the concept to moving images to show how the experience becomes intensified when video can trigger simultaneous, multiple punctums, which in turn set off multiple inventions. Choric invention does not offer a set of pre-established procedures; it creates a network in which to feel an invention that is both sparked by a punctum and remembered by the body (Ulmer).
Thomas Rickert revisits the work of Plato, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, and Gregory Ulmer to present chora as a complex ecology for rhetorical invention. Rickert traces chora through Derrida's idea that choric "invention may inhabit a paradoxical or impossible place within rhetoric, precisely because of its always-ongoing withdrawal" ("Towards the Chora" 265). The second section of this installation attempts to visually capture these moments of ongoing withdrawal.
YouTube as Chora
We then turn to specific practices found on the video sharing site YouTube to show how YouTube's archive evokes a choral space, folding time and space in and out of the platform. "Lisztomania," a pop song that has inspired groups around the world to engage in acts of choric invention, is also a term describing "Liszt fever," an affliction dating back to the 1840s that triggered intense levels of hysteria in fans of composer Franz Liszt. We connect choric invention to the act of social remix, a process whereby one remix inspires participants to invent similar remixes, which contain nuanced, different content and, thus, divergent lines of communication.
We conclude by riffing on the "dance" metaphorically to show how the interactions taking place on YouTube are both intricate dances among participants and publically violent acts that enact both playful and serious consequences both on and off line. Acts of responding, repurposing, and reposting make YouTube's wild archive something that cannot be tamed but can inspire participatory acts of innovation that would otherwise remain hidden.
Arroyo, Sarah J. Participatory Composition: New Practices for Writing in Electracy. Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 2012 (forthcoming). Print.
Carter, Geoffrey V. and Sarah J. Arroyo. "Tubing the Future: Participatory Pedagogy and YouTube U in 2020.Computers and Composition 28.4 (December 2011): 292 --302. Web.
Rickert, Thomas. "Towards the Chora: Kristeva, Derrida, and Ulmer on Emplaced Invention." Philosophy and Rhetoric 40.3 (2007): 251--73. Print.
Ulmer, Gregory. Heuretics. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. Print.
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