Date of Award

1-7-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Ethan Tussey

Second Advisor

Greg Smith

Third Advisor

Diana Anselmo

Fourth Advisor

Aymar Jean Christian

Abstract

This dissertation is examining LGBTQ+ audiences and creatives collaborating in the creation of new media texts like web shows, podcasts, and video games. The study focuses on three main objects or media texts: Carmilla (web series), Welcome to Night Vale (podcast), and Undertale (video game). These texts are transmedia objects or intertextual commodities. I argue that by using queer gestures of collaborative authorship that reaches out to the audience for canonical contribution create an emerging queer production culture that disidentifies with capitalism even as it negotiates capitalistic structures. The post-millennial queer sensibility is a constellation of aesthetics, self-representation, alternative financing, and interactivity that prioritizes community, trust, and authenticity using new technologies for co-creation.

Within my study, there are four key tactics or queer gestures being explored: remediation, radical ambiguity and multi-forms as queer aesthetics, audience self-representation, alternative financing like micropatronage & licensed fan-made merchandise, and interactivity as performance. The goal of this project is to better understand the changing conceptions of authorship/ownership, canon/fanon (official text/fan created extensions), and community/capitalism in queer subcultures as an indicator of the potential change in more mainstream cultural attitudes. The project takes into consideration a variety of intersecting identities including gender, race, class, and of course sexual orientation in its analysis. By examining the legal discourse around collaborative authorship, the real-life production practices, and audience-creator interactions and attitudes, this study provides insight into how media creatives work with audiences to co-create self-representative media, the motivations, and rewards for creative, audiences, and owners. This study aims to contribute towards a fuller understanding of queer production cultures and audience reception of these media texts, of which there is relatively little academic information. Specifically, the study mines for insights into the changing attitudes towards authorship, ownership, and collaboration within queer indie media projects, especially as these objects are relying on the self-representation of both audiences and creatives in the formation of the text.

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