Instead, what if we embrace fandom and art practice as a site of “worthless knowledge” (Jenkins), which is when art and fanfiction stops operating under conditions of “immaterial labour” or as “a service” and becomes something else: let’s call it an “affective knowledge”; a textural knowledge felt and sensed by individuals and communities over knowledge inscribed by institutions of power.

. . . .

Fans have spent decades harbouring shame over their exploits because “[f]ans are seen as devoting too much time to obtaining useless knowledge and place too much importance on ‘devalued cultural material.’ ” Spending excessive amounts of time reading or writing fanfictions about boy-on-boy romance, fans are not at work doing something more productive like contributing to capitalism’s productive regime. Just as when female fans are fantasising about boy-on-boy romance, they are not participating in heterosexuality’s reproductive regime. ( . . . ) As Tonya Anderson points out in her article “Still Kissing the Poster Goodnight”:  “dominant cultural politics characterise such female fan behaviour in adulthood as pathological.” In such instances fans are operating in “excess” and at best – in counter-to-knowledge.

From here, art and fandom might be better understood as affective communities that form around a shared feeling, that might not only be defined by our social or biological identities or by knowledge, but by an unproductive pleasure that undermines our productive desires, or to put it simply: by “being in love with their love” (Karukara). 

Parry, Owen G. (2019) ‘“Shipping” (as) Fandom and Art Practice’. Fandom As Methodology. London: Goldsmiths Press.
Fandom (and art) as sites of worthless knowledge
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