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Lauren Berlant F'12

Lauren Berlant

University of Chicago
last updated: 08/13/13

ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
Department: English
University of Chicago
Matter of Flatness

This study charts the emergence of an enigmatic affective and aesthetic mode exemplary of a generation of queer and “independent” works in the U.S. and globally from the mid-1980s on. Worlds and events that would conventionally have featured melodramatic performances of inflated subjectivity, intense relationality, and freighted social existence instead appear mutedly or diffusely, in gestures and tones that could indicate a range of registers: from trauma-related psychic dissociation and punk-style radical carelessness to ordinary dissipated, distracted, or loosely-quilted consciousness. Three sections—Deadpan, Dissociation, and Degage—walk around the histories and aesthetic complexities of this style of diffusive realism. Artists include Bill Murray, Tao Lin, and Miranda July.