On Asynchronous Concurrence: Synchronicity, Simultaneity and Superposition in Contemporary Novels and Films
This research project is situated in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and is concerned with non-simultaneity of the simultaneous: It investigates contemporary narrative fiction and film which uses different means to represent simultaneously occurring events or alternative possibilities in the course of the narration. In spite of the arrangement of a succession, these fictions represent synchronicity and overlap and render concepts of parallel and multidimensional time perceptible in processes of reading or seeing.
While these fictions break with linearity and chronology as ordering principles of a story, this break itself is only representable because they utilize processes of linearity and chronological succession on a level other than that of content. To be sure, contingency emerges as a counterprogram to narrative coherency in that stories do not conclude, chapters do not follow a predetermined causality, beginning and end do not find fulfillment in one another; nevertheless, the temporality of the narration is not simply sublated, arbitrariness and chaos only seem to replace succession and order. In intentionally nonlinear narration, too, diachronicity pervades the experiential site of the synchronic in that every recipient establishes a productive time of aesthetic response through a sequential arrangement that is either self-selected or suggested by the medium.
Beyond the decision for chronology or achronology, temporality gets handled in a manner which does not exclude either one but allows chronology to be experienced in the non-chronological and vice versa. In the process, the selected forms of representation attempt to creatively exhaust as well as to betray their medium (paper, book, film, series) by undermining such usual mechanisms and conventions as the turning of pages in a direction, the numbering of chapters or episodes of a series, and the demand for continuity.