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The Case of the "Grace Face:" Gestures Toward a Theory of Embodied Genre

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Transcript of The Case of the "Grace Face:" Gestures Toward a Theory of Embodied Genre

The Case of the "Grace Face":
Gestures Toward a Theory of Embodied Genre

There is a subculture of YouTube content creators, called "YouTubers" who create, shoot, edit, and post regular videos to their YouTube channels. The most successful of these self-taught amateurs have accrued hundreds of thousands if not millions of subscribers and are able to make a living off of ad revenue shares as YouTube partners or as employees of established digital entertainment companies.
JC Caylen (vlogger)
Louis Cole "Fun For Louis" (travel Vlogger)
Louis says the same thing at the end of every video: "Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure" and then fist bumps the camera
JC Caylen likes clouds, as he says they remind him to stay positive and "reach for the clouds." His viewers call themselves "Caylen Clouds" and often exchange "cloud" gestures made with their hands, as shown in his video celebrating two years on YouTube.
Sean Plott aka "Day9" is an e-sports commentator who streams videos of StarCraft II game play and strategy via daily livestreams and YouTube uploads. He and his viewers exchange heart gestures.
Day9 (video game commentator/gamer)
" BFvsGF" [Jesse and Jeana of "Prank vs Prank"] (vloggers, prankers)
This boyfriend/girlfriend duo began posting prank videos on YouTube and then started their own "reality show" with daily vlogs. Each video begins and ends with a salute their fans, who they call the "Dope Fresh Nation"
Daily Grace (comedian/vlogger)
Moriah L Purdy
University of Pittsburgh
@moriahlpurdy on Twitter

Grace Helbig of the YouTube channel Daily Grace offered, from November 2010 to December 2013, comedic daily vlogs that begin with a jingle, after which Grace raises her fist to her chin and smiles. This has become known as the "Grace Face."
While the "Grace Face" is not a new gestural act (it conjures, especially, the likes of Shirley Temple portraiture), its repetition by Helbig and her viewers played a substantial role in the formation of the community Helbig called "The Daily Grace Family" as shown by the expansive breadth of exchange across social media.
Helbig began uploading videos to YouTube with her college roommate Michelle for a channel called "GracenMichelle." In the spring of 2008 she was contacted by the web media company MyDamnChannel who offered to sponsor and host her videos.
By August of 2010 Helbig had begun to formalize her introductions with jingles and started "Grace Facing" more regularly at the end of those introductions. By this time she'd also regularly started hazing each new viewser she mentioned in the videos.
"...we argue that when speakers use gesture they do so as an integral part of the act of producing an utterance. An utterance is looked upon as an 'object' constructed for others from components fashioned from both spoken language and gesture." (Kendon, p. 5)
"When a type of discourse or communicative action acquires a common name within a given context or community, that's a good sign that it's functioning as a genre" (Miller, as cited in Miller & Shepherd, n.p. )
"In general, conversation is a key genre of the present: when a conversation ends, its singular time ends, and then it becomes like all other episodes, something mainly forgotten, distorted, half remembered… But that is not all conversation is: in a crisis, vital information-trading proliferates and demands conversation across many media. Informal networks of knowledge sharing are central to the endurance and vitality of any intimate public" (p. 57).
This is a study of Helbig's "Grace Face" gesture its repetition through other bodies.
April 14, 2008 |
"Daily Grace" was officially launched. Early daily videos did not have a particular structure, though fairly early on she began responding to her "viewser" (viewer + user) comments quite often.
April 15, 2008 |
On the first Tuesday ever of Daily Grace, Helbig responds to her "favorite comments" from YouTube and MyDamnChannel.
November 3, 2009
| Tuesdays become the official day where Helbig comments on comments. By the following week, the number of comments had already increased and Helbig started pointing out new viewsers when responding to comments.
Helbig employed the "Grace Face" at random in several videos, but it took two years for the gesture to start appearing with any regularity.
October 10, 2010
| The YouTube channel Daily Grace was launched and ran up until December 2013 when Helbig's contract with MyDamnChannel ended and she decided not to renew it. At its closure, Daily Grace had over 2.6 million subscribers.
The study will be represented through two interlocking segments:
1) A gestural map charting each instance of the "Grace Face" from Helbig and her viewers featured in the "Comment Tuesdays: Commenting on Comments" videos from October 11, 2010 to December 17, 2013, the duration of this segment on the Daily Grace YouTube channel.
2) Textual interludes working toward a theory of the gesture that allows us to see performative gestures, such as the "Grace Face" as a

genre of gesture.

Gesture Map
October 11, 2010
October 18, 2010
October 25, 2010
November 1, 2010
November 6, 2010
November 15, 2010
November 22, 2010
November 29, 2010
December 6, 2010
December 13, 2010
December 20, 2010
December 28, 2010
January 3, 2011
January 10, 2011
January 17, 2011
January 31, 2011
February 8, 2011
February 14, 2011
February 21, 2011
March 7, 2011
March 14, 2011
March 21, 2011
March 28, 2011
April 12, 2011
April 19, 2011
April 25, 2011
May 2, 2011
May 9, 2011
May 16, 2011
May 23, 2011
May 30, 2011
June 14, 2011
June 20, 2011
June 27, 2011
Jul 4, 2011
July 11, 2011
July 18, 2011
July 25, 2011
August 1, 2011
August 8, 2011
August 15, 2011
August 22, 2011
August 29, 2011
September 5, 2011
September 13, 2011
September 19, 2011
September 26, 2011
October 17, 2011
October 24, 2011
October 31, 2011
November 7, 2011
November 14, 2011
November 21, 2011
November 28, 2011
December 5, 2011
December 19, 2011
January 3, 2012
January 17, 2012
January 23, 2012
January 30, 2012
February 7, 2012
February 14, 2012
February 28, 2012
March 5, 2012
November 5, 2013
October 29, 2013
October 5, 2013
October 8, 2013
September 17, 2013
September 10, 2013
...and her viewsers posted these
Helbig posted this to Daily Booth...
February 28, 2011
*First returned "Grace Face."

A few people made a music video and gave Helbig a "shoutout" at the end. The link was included in the daily video and Helbig expressed how cute it was and encouraged viewers to go follow the link to the other video.
* Second returned "Grace Face," first time the viewser called the act "Grace-Facing"
"Oh look at all those kids making the graceface! but my favorite is THAT KID" [zooming in on one kid giving the camera the finger]
"Oh my God this picture is awesome. I apologize if you never get invited to a party again because it looks like it could go that way even though this picture is awesome. Thank youuu!"
"Ahh there's nothing about this that I don't like!"
"Oh my God. You're all nerds and I love it."
It is not asserting much to say that there is some difference between the naturalized gestures we use in everyday conversation and the performative gestures of the dancer, orator, or aesthetic and/or cultural creator. While this might be the case, such differences are underrepresented in scholarly studies of gesture. Many studies of gesture take these differences for granted, preferring instead to refer to willed or unwilled gesture as part of the same utterance, or by glossing over deliberateness without substantial complication.
A Few Situating Notes on Approach
Adam Kendon (2004) would suggest that it is the perception of intention that allows for the gesture to be seen as deliberate: "Whether an action is deemed to be intended or not is something that is dependent entirely upon how that action appears to others" (p. 15).

While this might seem true for naturalized gestures, those gestures delivered for the sake of performance/within performance are willed to the extent that they are deliberately done.
As the orators of antiquity such as Quintilian and Cicero would attest to, the willed gesture can be a powerful tool in oratory performance and has substantial implications for a performer's ability to connect to one's audience.

As Anthony Corbeill (2003) describes, via Quintilian: "in order for these gestures [performed in the act of speech-making, as referenced by Quintilian] to possess any kind of persuasive power, we must also presuppose an audience trained at some level to interpret these gestures correctly. This tacit understanding between speaker and audience ultimately works to distinguish between bodies that accurately convey a speaker's mind by moving in accordance with nature and those that can be marked as unnatural and therefore in some way deviant" (p. 3). This tacit understanding between speaker and audience together constructs the the rhetorical power of the performative gesture.
The Vlog as Oratory
The Transmission of Affect and Optimistic Attachment
Ritual and Genres of the Present: A Constellation of Ideas
... a few more notes toward methodology
There has also been little consideration of new media in gesture studies, even though YouTube publicly provides a wealth of artifacts ripe for the study of gesture in performative situations. Due to the lack of attention on performative gestures of this kind and the lack of studies on singular content creators on YouTube, projects that might otherwise serve as models for this investigation were limited.
What is certainly not limited are investigations and rhetorical inquiries into both gesture and genre that might help to illuminate what precisely is rhetorical and generic about the gestural exchanges that are of interest in this study.
The dominant point of inquiry of this project is whether or not the gestures performed by YouTube creators could be perceived as a genre of gesture, as distinct from conventions of the genre of YouTuber vlogs.
My interest in focusing on a particular local installation of this kind of gestural performance stems from a broader desire to understand the ways in which genres fuctuate and change.
My methodology for collecting gestures from Helbig and her viewers was less about studying the rhetoric of the gesture itself than revealing patterns of repetition, convention, and context that inform the social nature of the gestural performance(s). While there have been plenty of studies on vloggers who use their video blogs as a certain kind of daily diary, few to no studies have been done surrounding the so-called "YouTuber" subculture of YouTube content creators, many of whom "vlog" via topic-based prompts which are not necessarily confessional spaces. Many studies have acquired their subject pool simply by searching for the keyterm "vlog," (see Frobinius, Miller & Shepherd, etc.) which amounts to a broad grouping of individuals with dramatically different approaches to the genre, and who are not necessarily making a living off of uploading their content to YouTube. No study I found did a sustained rhetorical analysis of one single content creator's videos to track evolution and innovation of the sort that keeping an eye on this one gesture might supply
I propose, then, that genre be seen not as a response to recurring situation but as a nexus between an individual's actions and a socially defined context (p. 31).
A Definition of Gesture
For the purposes of this study, gesture can be understood as a bodily utterance, as via Adam Kendon (2004):
To take this proposal further, this study presumes a distinction between performative, willed gestures that become ritualized through repetition, and those naturalized gestures that arise unconsciously or through habit. This definition does not, however, presume that the willed gesture can or must be associated with reason or intention of thought. The performative gesture can be spontaneously willed while deliberately delivered.
"Don't do that."
If gestures are bodily utterances and if there are "typical forms of utterances, that is, speech genres" (Bakhtin, 1986, p. 78), then it may be possible to conceive of "The Grace Face" performative gesture as a local, occasional, genre of gesture.

, Book X I. 131)
"[Gesture's] importance in oratory is sufficiently clear from the fact that there are many things it can express without the assistance of words. For we can indicate our will not merely by a gesture of the hands, but also with a nod from the head: signs take the place of language in the dumb, and the movements of the dance are frequently full of meaning, and appeal to the emotions without any aid from words" (Quintilian, Institutio, Book XI. III. 66).
(Quintilian, Institutio, Book X I. 67-68)
One of the few vlog researchers who attends to gestures in computer-mediated-communication, Maximiliane Frobenius (2009), identifies vlogs as a monologic genre, such that if dialogues is "the default setting for spoken interaction" (p. 825) then vlogs, which are "reduced to the productive part of dialogic conversation and stripped of the receptive part" (p. 825) are monologues which must "develop compensatory strategies that make up for the missing co-construction which entails a lack of turn-taking and negotiation of speaker roles" (p. 814). In such a view, as is true for Frobenius, introductory remarks and address to the unseen conversation partner(s) can be seen as one such strategy.
This rhetorical view of the gesture/world relationship and the importance of gestures for speech acts, as asserted since antiquity, suggests that speech-making may be a more appropriate antecedent for vlogs than the act of performing monologues.
Categorizing video blogs as "monologues" simply because one half of the dialogue is off-screen seems to be a gross over-simplification, as it ignores the rich history of stage or oratory performance enacted not with the aim of imitation, but with the aim of approaching (ideally) the resonances of embodied emotion in everyday life, albeit heightened or brought forth with deliberateness.
"...all these emotions must be accompanied by gesture --not this stagy gesture reproducing the words but one conveying the general situation and idea not by mimicry but by hints, with this vigorous manly throwing out of the chest, borrowed not from the stage and the theatrical profession but from the parade ground or even from wrestling" (Cicero, De Oratore, III. LIX. 220)
As Cicero depicts it:
"gestures frequently derive their validity from a perceived relationship between their individual expression and workings in the world that exist outside of the gesture's ad hoc usage" (p. 5)
For so-called "YouTubers," however, vlogs are rooted, at least loosely, in the life of the vlogger themselves, and in the cultural contexts of the YouTube community and popular media broadly conceived. This is much more akin to what Cicero calls for in an orator:
"For the genuine orator must have investigated and hear and read and discussed and handled and debated the whole of the contents of the life of mankind, inasmuchas that is the field of the orator's activity, the subject matter of his study" (Cicero, De Oratore, III. xiv 53)
"Aw, for some reason older men doing a Grace Face makes me feel warm and weird."
"Ugh, when I was younger I went to Glamour shots and I took pictures of myself in like a cowboy hat but I really wish this was an option. I'm gonna start a Glamour Shots called Un-Glamourous shots. Don't take that idea."
"Aw yay! Confuse the popular YouTuber that is the first part of our plan!"
These gestural performances are often returned to the YouTuber when YouTubers impersonate one another, or when viewers "correspond" with their favorite YouTubers over video comments on YouTube, or through other social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. This phenomenon seems to imply that gestural performance has a powerful impact on identity formation and thus on community-building enterprises.
As Quintillian asserts:
as well as what Corbeill (2004) would say:
Gesture 2:
The rhetorical nature of vlogs and the gestural performances as companion utterances with them depends substantially on the affective experiences between bodies. The viral nature of the Grace Face gesture suggests that the transmission of affect via gesture is not only unchanged by the the virtual environments that mediate interaction, rather, virtual environments such as social media platforms seem to enhance the contagiousness of gesture and produces a vibrant gestural conversation.
Conceiving of gestures as utterances apart from words suggests that gesture and speech operate simultaneously and separately as well as jointly.
My understanding of affective transmission is derived from Theresa Brennan and Lauren Berlant and has everything to do with
While it is not possible to identify specific physiological changes within Helbig or her viewers, the Gesture Map does indicate that the physiological shifts accompanying those individuals' encounters and interactions with the Grace Face gesture (its image and Helbig's bodily movements that project the gesture) appear to be positive, productive, optimistic attachments.
As Lauren Berlant (2011) asserts:
"All attachment is optimistic, if we describe optimism as the force that moves you out of yourself and into the world in order to bring closer the satisfying something that you cannot generate on your own but sense in the wake of a person, a way of life, an object, project, concept, or scene.... Whatever the experience of optimism is in particular, then, the affective structure of an optimistic attachment involves a sustaining inclination to return to the scene of fantasy that enables you to expect that this time, nearness to this thing will help you or a world to become different in just the right way. But again, optimism is cruel with the object/scene that ignites a sense of possibility actually makes it impossible to attain the expansive transformation for which a person or a people risks striving" (p. 1-2)
What is visible in the Gesture Map are the particular instances of gestural return Helbig decided to highlight in her Comment Tuesdays videos. A quick search for #GraceFace on Twitter, however, will turn up many results even though Helbig is no longer highlighting these images on her new channel when she comments on comments: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23graceface&src=typd&f=realtime.
The affect might, indeed, be the passive perception of a bodily motion (as William James sumised), but this need not mean the motion caused the affect, or the affect the motion. In some cases both affect and motion (hormones in these cases) are responding to a third factor together: the social environment, whose air can be thick with anxiety-provoking pheromones" (p. 77)
"What is at stake with the notion of the transmission of affect is precisely the opposite of the sociobiological claim that the biological
the social. What is at stake is rather the means by which social interaction shapes biology. My affect, if it comes across to you, alters your anatomical makeup for good or ill" (p. 74).
As Theresa Brennan (2004) asserts of transmission:
"the social and physical transmission of the image are one and the same process but (once more, if we have to make a distinction pro forma, the social, not the physical, is causative.... In addition, the social, physical vibrations of images, as much as words, are critical in the process of electrical entrainment" (p. 71)"
and of the image...
However, Brennan's assertions of physiological affective states as shaped by social interaction and environment is helpful because it positions the social as paramount to entrainment or transmission of affect. This is the assertion of primary importance for us here.
and of bodily motion...
Berlant again:
Berlant's focus on the experience of optimism is helpful for this study in conjunction with Brennan's ideas about transmission in that the virtual environments, while enabling social encounters across time and space, also enable the sense of possibility or fantasy that may be cruel if never fully actualized/registered/authorized. While two-way conversations are possible in the YouTube/social media environments, more conversations/gestures go out than are featured by the content creators. The
of being featured may encourage viewers to continue to reach out and attempt to connect with Helbig and other members of the "Daily Grace Family."
The social environments created and sustained by YouTubers and social media platforms are not merely virtual. Vlogs are aesthetic productions of speech-making acts that behave as an "extended now," which can be watched in the present and responded to in the present, and where new present moments are happening in each video.
"[T]he present is perceived, first, affectively: the present is what itself present to us before it becomes anything else, such as an orchestrated collective event or an epoch on what we can look back. If the present is not at first an object but a mediated affect, it is also a thing that is sensed and under constant revision, a temporal genre whose conventions emerge from the personal and public filtering of the situations and events that are happening in an extended now whose very parameters (when did 'the present' begin?) are also always there for debate" (p. 4).
A possible way to see the performative gestures of YouTubers like Grace Helbig's "Grace Face" as a genre of gesture is to see the gestural conversation between Helbig and her viewers as mediated affects under revision by the participants and viewers who ultimately keep the gesture running in the present. Its continual happening is what allows for and enables the affects across virtual instantiations of bodies and thus extends the parameters of the genre outward.
Works Cited
"Genres are always already existing. People interpret situations, select genres, and function culturally within a context of existing genres that brings the past perpetually into the present"
(Devitt, 2004, p. 28).
Final Gestures: Implications for Composition, Genre, and Gesture Studies
As the possibilities for what can be and what can be perceived as rhetorical (as has been done with bodies, gestures, affects, objects, etc.) continues to open up and expand, we must also investigate the ways in which these (relatively) new or revived rhetorics take shape or are located in relation to the self and communities, and the many contexts that influence our utterances and perceived utterances. Conceiving of bodily utterances, such as gesture, as affective genres of the present is one step toward that aim.
The particular genres of gestural exchange, such as Helbig's "Grace Face," can operate as powerful examples of how communities come to identify affectively with their genres as individuals. The ways in which the genre has been appropriated across bodies demonstrates how genres are both fluid and free as well as constrained and conventional.
It also demonstrates a more fluid conception of "situation" than is often perceived in genre studies. Its successful appropriation through multiple bodies in multiple scenarios suggests that, rather than being typified responses to recurrent situations, genres take shape and are transformed by the social and affective attentions of the communities that make use of them. In short, the powers of identification are contagious.
Conceiving of gestures as bodily genres of the present reminds us that the ways in which we make utterances and perceive of utterances are always in the processes of transformation. Genres are not static or stable, they are always getting different and expanding all the time in the present. There are always happening.
(Burke, as cited in Davis, 125)
(Massumi, 107)
"Every movement has an activation contour, a rhythm of activity: vitality affect. Affective tonality, for its part, comes with reenaction. It occurs between the action and the reenaction, the rhythm and the reverberation, expression of their mutual inclusion in the same event" (p. 115)
Massumi (2011) says this of vitality:
(Massumi, 115)
Notes: [1] Some voices from the various fields of interest for this study will appear in the Gesture Map trajectory, but will not be situated or referred to. They are there for resonance and reverberation.
"Ritual is a way of
thought. It is a technique of existence for bringing forth virtual events through techniques involving bodily performance, in mutual inclusion with events of other kinds. Events, for example, of the heavens, of a cosmological kind. Ritual resonated with virtual events, as the operation of language does" (p. 124).
"Ritual is yet another genre of the present. It evokes a tradition, and respects the place of tradition in the ongoing punctuation of time. It sutures different temporal arcs. It gestures toward therapy and redemption without narrating those ends" (Berlant, 2011, 61-62)
"Some genres would seem to fit a call and response pattern, as a request for information results in a letter giving information. Some genres would seem to serve as super-genres for other genres, providing the basis and reference point for other genres"

"The heart of the genre's social nature is its embeddedness in groups and hence social structures. Rhetorical situations are likely to be perceived as recurring by the same group of people, whose experiences are similar enough and repeated in similar enough ways to be perceived as recurring situations. It is also groups of people who are in a position to pass genres to new participants, who form the groups with which new members interact. The genres that develop from a group's interactions, then, reciprocally reinforce the group's identity and nature by operating collectively rather than individually. It is no logical leap to argue that genres, which reflect and construct recurring rhetorical situations, also reflect and construct a group of people" (p. 36).
"Genres provide an affective expectation of the experience of watching something unfold, whether that thing is in life or in art" (p. 11)
(Berlant, 25)
"...[A] poetics of attachment always involves some splitting off of the story I can tell about wanting to be near x (as though x has autonomous qualities) from the activity of the emotional habitus I have constructed, as a function of having x in my life, in order to be able to project out my endurance in proximity to the complex of what x seems to offer and proffer."
Carolyn Miller:
As Devitt (2004) proclaims:
Amy Devitt (2004):
To return to the idea of conversation, we return to Berlant (2011):
...and this to say of ritual:
Another note on ritual:
A final note on genre and the present:
Gesture 4:
Bodily movement and ritualization provide the means for mutual inclusion and participation in identity-affirming group dynamics, which retain their vitality through the reenaction and reverberation of embedded genres, which construct and are constructed by their groups.
"Oh! I don't know how to feel. Thank you?"
"Ooh it's cute and terrifying!"
"Look at that picture. I know I've made some kind of an impact on the world when adult men are Grace Facing Each other at their 30th birthday parties."
"I think I like it. What do you guys think?"
"I think I told this story before but that brings me back to when I was a child and my older brother John used to say 'Grace Grace with the alien face she comes from outer space so I can spray her with ace. Thanks for bringing that up."
As we think toward instantiations of genre and performative gesture in practice, we must remember that our rehearsals of them are local but that they exist as a part of global structures of encounter. If we are attuned to their potential for ritualization in recurrence we might harness their resonant powers for the purposes of solidarity and mutual inclusion, such as we hope to foster in our classroom environments and our intellectual communities.
Bakhtin, Mikhail (1986). The problem of speech genres. (Vern M McGee, trans.)
Speech genres and other late essays
. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Berlant, Lauren. (2011).
Cruel optimism.
Durham: Duke University Press.
Brennan, Theresa (2004).
The Transmission of Affect.
Ithaca: Cornell University
Cicero. (1960).
De Oratore
. (H. Rackam, trans). Cambridge: Harvard University
Corbeill, Anthony. (2003).
Nature embodied: Gesture in ancient Rome.
Princeton University Press.
Davis, Diane. (2008). Identification: Burke and Freud on who you are.
Society Quarterly
, 38(2): 123-147.
Devitt, Amy. Writing genres. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press,
Frobinius, Maximiliane (2009). Beginning a monologue: the opening sequence of
video blogs.
Journal of Pragmatics (43)
Helbig, Grace.
Daily Grace Comment Tuesdays.
Retrieved December, 2013, from
Kendon, Adam (2004).
Gesture: visible action as utterance.
Cambridge University Press.
Quintilian. (1972).
Institutio oratoria.
(H. E. Butler, trans). London: William
Heinemann Press.
Massumi, Brian. (2011). Semblance and event: activist philosophy and the
occurent arts. Boston: MIT Press.
Miller, Carolyn (1984). Genre as social action.
Quarterly Journal of Speech (70)
Miller, Carolyn, and Dawn Shepard. (2004). Blogging as social action: a genre
analysis of the weblog." In L.J. Gurak, S. Antonijevic, L. Johnson, C. Ratliff, & J.
Reyman (Eds.),
Into the blogosphere: Rhetoric, community, and culture of
Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/
"Whoaaaaa I don't know how to feel about thaaaat! Soo I'm just going to elongate all my vooooooowwels"
"Wow, your roommate looks so pissed, and you're both wearing hoodies. It looks like you're in some kind of gang. Now I'm in it, too!"
August 6, 2012
August 28, 2012
September 4, 2012
September 11, 2012
September 18, 2012
September 25, 2012
October 2, 2012
October 9, 2012
October 16, 2012
October 23, 2012
November 6, 2012
November 13, 2012
"Ohh you're so disconnected from your partner, doing your own thing, and I love it!"
February 21, 2012
September 3, 2013
August 27, 2013
August 6, 2013
July 30, 2013
July 23, 2013
July 16, 2013
Jul 9, 2013
July 2, 2013
June 25, 2013
June 18, 2013
June 11, 2013
June 4, 2013
May 28, 2013
May 21, 2013
May 14, 2013
May 7, 2013
March 20, 2012
April 2, 2012
April 10, 2012
"Oh girl, did someone buy that because I want it!"
April 16, 2012
April 23, 2012
May 1, 2012
May 7, 2012
"You look like Miss America, and your niece looks like she could sell me jelly on television"
May 14, 2012
May 22, 2012
June 4, 2012
June 11, 2012
"Look at this picture! Some people tell me that they get so excited when they Grace Face that they accidentally punch themselves in the face... Your dad is upper-cutting himself. If he was in Street Fighter he would not be a good character to play, the character who constantly upper-cuts himself. Happy Father's Day to both of you!"
June 19, 2012
July 3, 2012
July 9, 2012
"Are you friends with Sarah? Cuz you guys should maybe all be friends with each other. You all have common hobbies!"
July 16, 2012
July 31, 2012
"Oh my God! None of them know what they're doing and oh this is a very emotionally confusing things to react to I feel like you're using them for cuteness and it's working but they seem--oh, no"
"That seems like a really inappropriate place to Grace Face, but your dad is adorable! I want to drink a Coors Light with that guy and talk about home improvement."
* This capture is from the end of the video, where Helbig features "bonus" footage while promoting her other recent videos, thus the capture is hard to read. It says: "Taught my dad how to Grace Face in front of the Berlin Wall"
November 20, 2012
* Hana Hart is another YouTube personality from the YouTube channel "My Drunk Kitchen." This is the start of regular guest hazers on Comment Tuesdays.
Helbig: "First of all, your last name is Fok. Second of all, what are you doing?!? Hart: "So not safe, not worth the Grace Face" Helbig: "Not at all!"
November 27, 2012
"Oh! [indiscernible noises] system shut down! Thanks!"
"Noah's f*cking arc."
December 4, 2012
"Noah's f*cking arc."
"And I am loving it. This is why Noah got all the animals on the arc and saved them, so we could do crazy shit like this to them."
December 11, 2012
"Oh my God, men watch my videos. Like, older men, that aren't like, really old men. This is a really thrilling experience for me!"
January 15, 2013
January 22, 2013
*Mamrie Hart is another YouTube personality from the YouTube channel "You Deserve a Drink." These three eventually linked up to tour and perform live stand up comedy together.
January 29, 2013
February 5, 2013
February 12, 2013
February 19, 2013
February 26, 2013
March 19, 2013
March 26, 2013
April 16, 2013
*Hank Green is one of the earliest vloggers to make a name for himself on YouTube. He and his brother John Green started VidCon, the largest YouTube creator and viewer conference, which brought in 12,000 attendees in August 2013.
April 23, 3013
April 30, 2013
"Miranda Sings" is another popular comedy YouTube channel, where comedian Colleen Ballinger vlogs as the character Miranda
*Rhett and Link are also YouTube comedians. They make comedic music videos and host a morning talk show called "Good Mythical Morning"
* Joe Sugg and Zoe are brother and sister and are also YouTubers.
"I don't usually put people in these videos who ask so forcefully without asking, but that's Justin Bieber's Mom, at a book signing. How did she write a book? What's that book about?"
Chris Rieddel is also a YouTube personality, and is the director of Helbig, Hart, and Hart's film, "Camp Takota"
December 18, 2013
"That is great! I love this photo. And I love that your grandmother is so authentically confused, and I love that making old people grace face is becoming a trend for all of you. I guess that's good."
"Oh my God, don't waste your time doing that, check your oxygen levels. Scuba diving makes me riddled with anxiety."
"Ah I met you in line. Thank you so much for waiting and I checked out some of your videos, they are interesting. If you need cheap tips about things in life from a man that likes to wear wigs, he's got you covered."
"I feel dirty right now. Proud and so so dirty."
Miranda: "Why are they punching their faces, though?" Helbig: "That's a Grace Face." Miranda: "What does it mean, though?" Helbig: "It doesn't really have a meaning." Miranda: "Sounds pretty stupid if you ask me."
*Pentatonix are an acapella group who won the acapella singing competition TV show "The Sing Off" and now has a successful album and a popular YouTube channel.
"Internet friends meeting each other at internet shows!"
"Wow! Why is your friend doing that? She is good at drawing she should draw other things that are better. Like, an ocean."
"ahhh that is, wow. You didn't have to do that for anything. Also, my... [indiscernible noises] Thank you for doing that, I think. You should do your art thing for things that are more expressive than my face."
"I'm glad now getting your teachers to Grace Face is becoming a thing, because, why should..." Hart: "Then you'll be grace-Acing your classes! Good luck in school, kids!
"What, that is very impressive. The eyes are great, I've always wanted anime eyes... that wasn't bad or sarcastic"
* The addition of Daily Booth comments encouraged viewers to return pictorial responses to Helbig.
* Shane is a Ford Fiesta agent, who includes his Fiesta in videos. Helbig is also a Ford Fiesta agent. For a period of time they receive Ford Fiestas in exchange for these videos (Ford tasks agents with particular activities to do/go to with their cars)
* Mitch and Scott are members of the acapella group Pentatonix, featured Grace Facing in a previous video.
It is not uncommon for these entertainment personalities to employ some kind of gestural movement in their intros or outros that ultimately become intricately entangled with their web personas. Here are a few examples:
Helbig currently creates and uploads videos on her own independently managed YouTube channel "
It's Grace
." Since MyDamnChannel owned the copyright for Helbig's material, she can no longer make use of the catch phrases, jingles, or the names of her segments from Daily Grace, even though she authored these elements of her videos.
While it is unclear whether or not the "Grace Face" itself has been copyrighted, its existence as a component of copyrighted material means that Helbig cannot perform the gesture on her new channel.
Brennan is interested, primarily, physiological embodiment and hormonal change
in place
and not images from afar or as mediated by aesthetic or virtual environments.
The Gesture Map represents, therefore, only a small portion of the gestural exchange occurring and continuing within/throughout Helbig's community of viewers. Moreover, it can be seen that the pursuit of being featured by Helbig on her YouTube channel is not the dominant object of the participants' affective attachment and is therefore not cruel in the sense Berlant describes.
December 17, 2013
"Oh my gosh don't break your other elbow by ding-ing. That looks like ugh and aww."
December 10, 2013
Jason Horton is a friend of Helbigs and also another Ford Fiesta agent.
December 3, 2013
November 26, 2013
Flula is a German YouTube comedian.
"Thanks for doing that. I hope it didn't compromise your time!"
On one of her other weekly videos Helbig "Teaches You How to Do Something" and had recently filmed herself baking funfetti cake with brownie mix
Video blogs by YouTubers like Helbig are an incredible resource as they repeat their own version of the genre each week (or with relative consistency). The "Grace Face" phenomenon, in particular, with its relative ordinariness and its contagious proliferation, has created a particularly apt archive for this inquiry because the interaction between Helbig and her viewers makes the nuances of recurrence highly visible across a variety of contexts and situations of use.
Therefore, this project thus takes place at the nexus of two areas of interest for composition and rhetorical study: rhetorical gesture and rhetorical genre, as informed and illuminated by theories of affective transmission. I conceive of the lines of thinking represented in this work as "opening gestures" from this nexus.
[2] There are more map points than are featured via trajectory points for ease of viewing; however [3], you should feel encouraged to ignore the pathways set out for you and explore at will.
(Devitt, 58)
(Quintilian, Institutio, Book XI III.1)
Berlant (2011):
Full transcript