Critical Writing Index

Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding

by Francesca Coppa

Transformative Works and Cultures, Sept 15, 2008, v. 1

Organization for Transformative Works, 2008

ISSN 1941-2258

This paper argues that the practices and aesthetics of vidding were structured by the relationship of Star Trek’s female fans to that particular televisual text. Star Trek fandom was the crucible within which vidding developed because Star Trek’s narrative impelled female fans to take on two positions often framed as contradictory in mainstream culture: the desiring body, and the controlling voice of technology. To make a vid, to edit footage to subtext-revealing music, is to unite these positions: to put technology at the service of desire. Although the conflict between desire and control was particularly thematized in Star Trek, most famously through the divided character of Spock, the practices of vidding are now applied to other visual texts. This essay examines the early history of vidding and demonstrates, through the close reading of particular vids made for Star Trek and Quantum Leap, how vidding heals the wounds created by the displacement and fragmentation of women on television.

ITEM 2008.201 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

CloserT. Jonesy and Killa

What Do You Do With a Drunken Vulcan?Kandy Fong

Both Sides NowKandy Fong

Mary Van Deusen

Kendra Hunter

Diana Barbour

PressureSterling Eidolan and the Odd Woman Out

California Crew

Oh Boy!Sterling Eidolan and the Odd Woman Out