Interfictions Online’s Arts Editor Henry Lien begins a new series of posts describing some of the proposed projects for the new Arts Department that the Indiegogo Campaign will help fund.
Proposed Arts Department Project 1: “When Brands Undergo Radical Gender Identity Reassignment”
The U.S. Supreme Court Justices tell us that corporations are people. However, what the Supremes don’t tell us is that brands have genders. Or so the corporations would want us to believe. Witness, for example, the hilarious customer review responses to the BIC Cristal for Her Ball Pen.
We’re planning a piece in Interfictions about brands that undergo some sort of radical gender identity reassignment, or even more interesting, brands whose gender identities, as decided by their corporate parents, are threatened by outside forces. It will be an interdisciplinary essay/gallery/found media piece emphasizing the art and graphic design elements necessary to change, or defend, the brand’s gender identity. The funds raised by the campaign will help compensate the writer as well as any artists, graphic designers, or branding specialists required to create visual aids for the project, such as fictional ads regendering existing brands.
One case study the piece will examine will be the epic lawsuit that Hasbro vainly filed to try to get the U.S. Customs Office not to classify G.I. Joe as “dolls” for customs purposes. The customs classification was something that the public would never see, but the idea of G.I. Joe being a doll was so devastating to Hasbro’s image of the brand’s gender identity that they fought it with everything they had. And inadvertently brought media attention through the lawsuit to the truth that boys who play with G.I. Joe are playing WITH DOLLS.