PRINT September 2010

Fia Backström

IN JANUARY 2008, responding to YouTube’s corporate slogan, “Broadcast Yourself,” a user of the site launched an unsolicited video for the song “Kids” by MGMT, which went viral and became instrumental in the branding of the band. Using partly found footage, the video was produced with the common tools accessible for democratic content production.

Through social replication as improvised exchange, style collectively enfolds and serves as the glue for specific subcultural contexts, such as gangsta rap’s hand signs. Its free-floating adaptability allows for communication across demographic and economic barriers, as seen in the worldwide spread of rap culture, and also makes possible its depoliticizing capacity, which erases race, gender, and social origin—as with the low-hanging pants that expose the wearer’s underwear, which are now worn by guys everywhere as a symbol of badass virility, but

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