Interchangable Icons

On project reflection I’ve started looking at character development. I felt as though my project was missing something so going back over my research and past projects one theme jumped out at me. Popular culture iconography and the adaptable/ interchangeable nature of transmedia pop icons. Below are the three biggest examples interchangeable icons and unsurprisingly they are all based in Japan.

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku is a Japanese computer generated pop star. She is the perfect example of a transmedia pop culture icon. Even the use of calling her she, proves just how integrated she is into my world as a real icon. Essentialy Hatsune Miku is a piece of software developed by Crypton Future Media. Everything about her is computer generated, her voice her image and her character. Unlike I first assumed when I saw her she is not voiced by a real person, her essence is the software that created her. She is a millionaire virtual pop icon, and her rein transcends into every platform, music, film, advertising, toys, food, clothes. In regards to this project I call her an interchangable icon. Like a doll her clothes are changed to fit the product, she is plastered on advertisements and products from cars to pizza boxes.

Hatsune Miku’s iconic hair is her recognisable atribute, sometimes it may change colour for a product or a theme but it always remains in the same style.

Hello Kitty

The 60’s version of Hatsune Miku, she is still a global icon today but could be seen as a bit too traditional in comparison to Miku. A different version of a virtual character, she is an icon in her own right and again an interchangeable icon.

Kitty’s face is her recognisable point, it’s key to have something familiar in every adaption so the audience can relate back to the character.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

So what about a real life Interchangeable icon? Keeping in theme with our Japanese girls I present you Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, pop star and trend setter in Japan.

So why Interchangeable?  I use the term interchangeable because it reminds me of the dolls I used to have when I was little, for example you would buy a barbie but she would then have interchangeable outfits, maybe one to make her a rock star another to make her a princess. The interchangeable nature is all about power over the character, you (or companies) control what they look like but only to some extent because you still had to buy into the extensions packs.


3 thoughts on “Interchangable Icons

  1. Pingback: Nendoroids |

  2. A couple more thoughts:

    The classical idea of personae – you could start with an essay by Maude called “the category of the person ” the idea here is the there are different concepts of person-hood through time and in different cultures, but this means that although we all share a basic lived sense of ‘the Jr’s inside my head, all cultures have different ways of enabling those identities to interact. In classical Rome the persona was one of those ways – which is mirrored in some of our ways of thinning about the self and also has parallels in other cultures. The persona is, in effect republic face which we adopt in public

  3. Your idea seems connected to the idea of persona – a public face which we project meaning on to – they have to be ’emoty’ interchangeable so that we can all project and so that they can keep being offered (sold) to us.

    A second point of reference might be performed roles in cultural rituals – of which there are many

    You could refer to Clifford Gerrtz taking about Bali and Java where there is the idea of taking on identities and performing them -in your example these icons are like performed identities we attach to as friends / figures of desire as proxies fior ‘real’people

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