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»Fame is the Name of the Game«: Appropriation and Celebrity Culture

Brigitte Weingart

Thursday, 5.7.2018

In German
Moderation: Hanna Magauer

As public figures of art celebrities are per se objects of media practices of appropriation, since of course these practices are necessarily part of what makes a person famous. This is why appropriation is not only among the concepts used to recognize modes of reception by fans as productive (keyword: prosumer); the »media texts« from which star images are composed (according to Richard Dyer) are, moreover, privileged objects of pop and appropriation art, where it is in turn possible to observe strange types of relationships between criticality and fascination.

By investigating the example of the anonymous amateur photo project Type 42: Fame is the Name of the Game, my lecture focuses on the complicity – fostered not least of all by technology – of artistic and fan practices of appropriation, as well as on the fluid transitions between obsession and dispossession. In this specific case, the anonymous authorship draws attention ex negativo to how strongly the reception of practices of appropriation is regulated by knowledge about contexts of production and the good old question of authorship.


Brigitte Weingart is Professor for Media Studies at the University of Cologne and editor of the Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (Journal of Media Studies). Current areas of focus in teaching and research: media theory and history, genealogy and media aesthetics of fascination, celebrity cultures, media practices of appropriation.