Underground-commercialism: Posing bodies in urban exploration and the commodification of resistance

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This presentation focuses on the subcultural phenomenon urban exploration (hence forward: UE) on social media. Looking at the Copenhagen UE duo CphCph the presentation discusses the affective potential enabled by the imagery this duo shares online. The empirical material consisting of text- and pictures from CphCph’s facebook page is analysed through a discourse analytical and esthetic-affective approach (Knudsen & Stage, 2012). UE is placed in a contemporary socio-economic context where entities such as ‘creativity’ and ‘subculture’ have become valuable assets when cities are branded as ‘creative cities’. Inspired by critical consumer studies and Banet-Weiser’s concept of ‘productive ambivalence’ (2013) CphCph is examined as an ambiguous phenomenon crafted on the one hand through a market-orien- ted logic in which the risk-taking, masculine and posing UE body is used as a biopolitical tool to maximize ‘spreadability’ (Jenkins, Ford & Green, 2013) and in the end sales, hereby framing the followers as consumers. And, on the other hand, albeit being highly aestheticized and commodified, CphCph’s imagery resembles a critical reclaiming practice, inviting followers to imagine alternative uses of urban public space. ‘Underground-commercialism’ is intro- duced as a concept carved out by the contemporary neoliberal environment and denoting the entrepreneurial weaving together of critical practice and capitalist logics. Moreover underground-commercialism is said to be closely tied to the connective architecture (Van Dijck, 2013; Van Dijck & Poell, 2013) of social media. Pointing to the strategic use of affective registers and to how this use contributes to the commodification of resistance at a larger scale, the presentation asks how we can approach neoliberal forms of resistance through a productive ambivalence.
Translated title of the contributionUndergrundskommercialisme: Poserende kroppen i urban exploration og vareliggørelsen af modstand
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAffects Interfaces Events - Godsbanen, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 29. Aug 201830. Aug 2018


ConferenceAffects Interfaces Events
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