‘Join a cast of 1000s, to sing and dance in the Revolution’: the Secret Cinema ‘Activist’ brand and the commodification of affect within ‘experience communities’

Helen W. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article traces the evolution of a specific activist discourse within the cultural branding of Secret Cinema experiences as these develop from marginal and subcultural events to highly profitable and highly visible commercial offerings. Through a detailed analysis of their most successful undertaking to date — the presentation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 Moulin Rouge! — I examine the irreconcilable paradox between their alleged political intentions and this event as the final and full realisation of the complete commodification of all aspects of their participant’s behavior and affective engagement. In doing so, I draw on the influential work of David Harvey (2005) in setting the neoliberal context within which to comprehend the ‘commodification of everything’, but here particularly; cultural participation. By further invoking the concept of the ‘experience community’ (Atkinson & Kennedy 2018), I illuminate the ultimately transient and fleeting nature of any political or activist sentiment that is activated through these experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-696
Number of pages15
JournalParticipations
Volume14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 Helen Kennedy. Published in Participations 14(2): 682-696.

Keywords

  • Secret Cinema
  • Affect
  • Activism
  • Experience Community

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