Abundance Fantasies: The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat

Perhaps no Hollywood movie director and choreographer personifies the desire for abundance better than Busby Berkeley. His choreographies were wildly extravagant, the geometric patterns hallucinatory, and the props and costumes beyond anything seen before. His work oozes a profound and limitless desire for abundance. And yet we’d like to recruit his point of view as an instrument to come another step closer to the embrace of scarcity.

Since the very start of this investigation into shrinking the human species The Incredible Shrinking Man has had a paradoxical relationship with the notion of abundance. On the one hand it is this desire within humanity that seems instrumental in the destructive relationship with our planet. However, on the other hand  it may serve as a powerful argument for shrinking our species. Smaller people need less. We could shrink towards a state of unimaginable abundance. At a human height of 50 centimeters 1 chicken feeds 100 people and a banana would easily be enough for two dozen banana milkshakes. In the 1943 musical movie The Gang’s All Here, Berkeley underlines his abundance-sensitivity in the iconic choreography for The lady in the tutti frutti hat. Performed by Carmina Miranda, the song and choreography features 40 dancers carrying as many giant bananas pointing towards an abundant future. If we shrink. There’s an honesty in Berkeley’s need to go over the top, a choreography of deeply embedded desire, that may teach us something about the desire we carry within ourselves.

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