Red Transformer, 2011, single channel HD video. length: 8 min., color, sound, Edition of 5/+1, courtesy of the artist.

Red Transformer deals with the cosplay phenomenon in China and focuses on the act of transformation from “ordinary” human into fictional character. They were shot with the help of the famous Century Noah cosplay group in Chongqing, China who build and perform characters from a variety of narrative universes such as Gundam, Starcraft and World of Warcraft. I am fascinated with cosplay because this culture touches upon many of the issues that are important for my artistic work, namely the question how culture changes under the influence of contemporary global media cultures. A very important aspect here is the issue of intellectual property, which comes into play because all of these characters are registered trademarks owned by large international entertainment companies. What does it mean for the fans and audiences to adapt and transform these symbols. Furthermore, cosplay opens up many questions in conjunction with identification, since cosplayers deliberately choose to identify with and perform as fictional beings from a realm beyond real life limitations such as race, class or gender.

Red Transformer was funded by bm:ukk Austria
More information about this project can be found here: troublingresearch.net/home/axel-stockburger/cosplay-%E2%80%94-embodied-knowledge/

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