Blueprint Culture

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Synonyms:
See also: affirmational fandom, curative fandom
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Blueprint culture is a phrase coined by Bob Rehak, who uses it to define "a set of fan and professional practices devoted to mapping, drafting, indexing, and historicizing the storyworlds of fantastic media, from film and television franchises to literary and video game universes."

In his blog post, Notes on Blueprint Culture 1, Rehak asks what makes a world particularly amenable to blueprinting culture, and comes up with the following list:

  • belonging to the genre of science fiction, esp. “hard” SF, and some forms of fantasy
  • primarily visual in their base form (e.g. movies and television)
  • marked by distinctive design motifs that are also proprietary in nature, marking off one intellectual property from another
  • serial in nature and consisting of multiple instances (i.e. single, standalone films rarely have blueprint cultures associated with them; similarly one-off TV episodes, rare entities within that medium in any case)
  • as a consequence, containing large amounts of detail rendered still vaster and more extensive within the blueprinting practice
  • strong on continuity, often an outgrowth of limited numbers of repeatedly-visited settings
  • active or once-active fan bases
  • frequently the locus of officially-authored blueprinting as well, via tie-in texts
  • transmediated, or implemented across multiple media platforms, its very proliferation in part a function of blueprint materials that stabilize the fictional universe as an IP, organizing its extension and seeking to maintain coherence

Rehak's posts on blueprint culture are tagged on his blog; Rehak is also the editor of Transformative Works And Cultures special issue on Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom, which is devoted to the beloved objects of fandom - not only the maps of worlds and the blueprints of starships, but lightsabers, phasers, action figures, crafts and cosplay, posters, buttons, etc etc--all the great fannish "things." The issue aims "to explore the material practices of fandom through craft, commodity, collection, and curation." Rehak, Materiality and object-oriented fandom