On “71 Fragments for a Chronology of Possibility”

by stronged

Kim Dana Kupperman’s ‘eight-fragment, five-paragraph essay’ loosely based on Haneke’s 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance was a useful example of non-causal narrative structure. Using the William Carlos William’s poem “The Red Wheelbaroow” as a narrative device, framing each written fragment with “so much depends upon”, Kupperman has constructed a rich tapestry of both profound mediations (“So much depends on the fallacy of memory, the wreckage of truth we conceal, the lies we do not tell” or “So much depends on eros, divinity, the sublime, and how we navigate the ecologies of passion, faith, and mystery”), the cryptic (“So much depends upon synthesis, abstraction, and the clarity requisite to envision imaginary numbers”), humorous observations (“So much depends on keeping a straight face when you can barely keep from laughing”), and the seemingly frivolous (“So much depends upon when you pick the fig, how you bite into it, and what you do with the fig leaf”).

It is rare that Kupperman has created fragments that draw upon the same specific topic. But when this is done, an instant connection is made by the reader and hence a narrative structure formed. For example, she first discusses the importance of the number six in various cultural, religious, scientific and social contexts, and then proposes the idea of what occurs when you flip the number six.

This collection of disconnected chunks of information remind me of Bogost’s Latour litanies in which he rambles off into streams of consciousness, listing numerous objects, events and people that can be perceived as part or set aside from the topic at hand. The relevance being that various fragments of information assemble to form an operative system of units. There is a ‘dependence and relativity’ implied when experiencing such diverse information. As Kupperman explains, ‘scraps [fragments] engender speculation’ (133) and therefore we, as humans, are pre-conditioned to find linkages between narrative units. We desire meaning.

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