The art of collecting fancy paper: understanding the assignment of values to collecting alternative movie posters

Ellis, Thomas David (2021) The art of collecting fancy paper: understanding the assignment of values to collecting alternative movie posters. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the Alternative Movie Poster (AMP) and the collecting community surrounding it, adjacent to the position of modern collecting pursuits. This field presents an opportunity to evaluate contemporary practices in a modern context, demonstrating how collectors assign implicit and explicit, objective and subjective values to strategize and legitimise their actions.

To conduct this research, thematic discourse analysis of interview data with gatekeepers and collectors was used. This was supported through primary investigation into the key components integral to the AMP, namely its inherent collectability, film as subject matter, and art and craft production processes, with much of this content informing the line of questioning adopted for interviews.

The thesis moves to discuss the values assigned to production, which are enhanced and exploited by the AMP to increase desirability. This repositions the concept of the ‘instant collectible’, what it is and how it can be used to fulfil collector interests. These over engineered production values also assign sufficient credibility in proxy to the subject matter represented in the AMP, fulfilling collector desires to connect with film through a tangible vessel.

Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’, principally his notion of capital, aids the analysis of values assigned by collectors to practice. Their inherent desire to collect AMPs is based on a want to, knowingly or unknowingly, consistently accumulate capital, presenting a tangential topic of interest when considering traditional expectations outlined in collecting studies. Capital rationalises collecting practice where it has previously been considered, in part, irrational, and this in turn allows the collector to justify their interests in the adjacent fields integral to AMP collecting. However,
evidence points towards the internal use of ‘potential fixed capital’ to fulfil subjective personal interests ultimately providing assurance of the self. This is inherently linked to tangibility, where the production values discussed can be considered ‘hypertangible’ to fully realise and release any potential capital value.

These findings bring into focus the ongoing relevance of Bourdieu to the analysis of contemporary concerns, notably the use of capital in establishing an
understanding of collecting activity. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that the collector internally utilises capital in justifying and legitimising collecting, a
consideration which could be introduced into the wider field of study. The concept of the ‘fan collector’, being able to engage physically with an ethereal construct is not a new insight, but the thesis does recognise their strategy in relation to production values. Here a focus on quality and artistic merit raises the profile of the AMP adjacent to the text it represents, meeting certain criterial needs of the individual whose very identity is bound to such interests.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: printing, silkscreen and screenprinting, capital, popular culture, Bourdieu, material culture
Subjects: W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 14:05
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 14:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46707

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