In recent years there has been an increase of seemingly never-ending, open-ended stories, stories that are serialized and flexiblized, but yet non-linear and disrupting, purposely left opaque and incomplete in order to be, somewhat and somehow, completed / complemented through the imaginative and physical investment of the reader. Television series, (graphic) novels, websites, music albums, or films all heavily depend on a continuing, thorough engagement and immersion of the reader into their meandering possibilities. They call for an active reader who agrees to play and be played, to make sense of her world and herself in and through fiction: these stories present themselves as confusing pieces of a puzzle that need the reader's relentless attention to be re-arranged, interpreted, and extended. Interestingly enough, these playful and flexible forms of storytelling occur in globalized, neoliberal, and digitalized times that seem to call for active, self-caring subjects and readers---or what Wendy Brown calls citizen-subjects of a neoliberal order who are encouraged and condemned of self-help, self-extension, and activity. They are enterpreneurial actors whose moral automony are measured by their capacity of what Brown postulates as 'self-care.' With these overlapping criteria in mind---flexible stories and flexible subjects / readers---my dissertation project, which is for now titled Building and Telling Evolving Stories, will approach recent (graphic) novels, films, television series, and music. By way of looking at the aesthetic experience of their opaque, playful narratives, I am taking into consideration in what way demands towards the subject as well as towards identity have changed within our cultural moment in time.
"Complicated 'Managers of the Self' in Joseph O'Neill's Netherland and Dave Eggers's A Hologram for the King." Canadian Association for American Studies 2013 Conference: Total Money Make Over - Culture and the Economization of Everything. Kitchener, October 2013.