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Doubling the fantasy, adapting the reel: Entertaining transmediation as a collaborative narrative strategy

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Can we move fan participation and the co-creation of storylines outside the sphere of the culture industry to better understand their potential functions for constructing individual subjectivity and empowering social change? With an attention to experiences of migration, exile and detainment, and through close readings of documentary The Wolfpack (2015), HBO’s bilingual horror comedy series Los Espookys (2019) and Manuel Puig’s novel, El beso de la mujer araƱa (1976), I argue that it is necessary to move beyond a speaker‐audience dialectic, as in traditional storytelling, and towards transmediated activity, where static or linear temporal and spatial orders are both reproduced and subverted. By converging performance studies with border studies and phenomenology, this contribution counters assumptions about submissive viewership while unpacking the political utility of entertainment. Ultimately, ‘Doubling the fantasy, adapting the reel’ challenges what it means to be a ‘storyteller’ and what constitutes a useful ‘story’ in the context of political advocacy and activism.

Keywords: border studies; civic entertainment, fan studies; migration; performance studies; pop culture; translation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000101707903The Graduate Center, 0000000122985718City University of New York (CUNY)

Publication date: June 1, 2021

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