Seeing the invisible: Brand authenticity and the cultural production of queer imagination

Journal article


Södergren, J. and Vallstrom, N. 2021. Seeing the invisible: Brand authenticity and the cultural production of queer imagination. Arts and the Market. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-12-2020-0053
AuthorsSödergren, J. and Vallstrom, N.
Abstract

The twofold aim of this theory-building article is to raise questions about the ability of queer cinema to transform market culture and ideologies around gender and sexuality. First, we examine how the very capitalization of queer signifiers may compromise the dominant order from within. Second, we address how brands possibly can draw on these signifiers to project authenticity.

Through visual methods of film criticism and the semiotic analysis of three films (Moonlight, Call Me By Your Name, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire ), we outline some profound narrative tensions addressed by movie makers seeking to give an authentic voice to queer lives.

Brands can tap into these narrative attempts at ‘seeing the invisible’ to signify authenticity. False sublation, i.e. the ‘catch-22’ of commodifying the queer imaginaries one seeks to represent, follows from a Marcusean analysis.

In contrast to Marcuse’s pessimist view emphasizing its affirmative aspects, we conclude that such commodification in the long term may have transformative effects on the dominant ideology. This is because even if something is banished to the realm of imagination, for example through aesthetic semblance, it can still be enacted in real life.

In more practical terms, ‘seeing the invisible’ is proposed as a cultural branding technique. To be felicitous, one has to circumvent three narrative traditions: pathologization, rationalization, and trivialization.

KeywordsAuthenticity; Commodification; False sublation; Queer imagination
Year2021
JournalArts and the Market
PublisherEmerald
ISSN2056-4945
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-12-2020-0053
Official URLhttps://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AAM-12-2020-0053/full/html
Publication dates
Online20 May 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Mar 2021
Deposited19 May 2021
Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
Open
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8xq36/seeing-the-invisible-brand-authenticity-and-the-cultural-production-of-queer-imagination

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